Catholic bishops have urged the Government to speed up the passage of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill 2015 saying that its proposals on price, labelling, advertising would significantly reduce alcohol consumption.

In a statement following their regular autumn meeting in Maynooth, the bishops said that society has long been blighted by the human devastation caused by alcohol and that the Catholic Church has challenged this for generations. 

They said that two decades of parish-level experience had persuaded the Irish Bishops' Drugs Initiative (IBDI) that alcohol continues to hold a tight grip on the national character. 

"The glamorising of alcohol through advertising, promotions and sponsorship, can adversely affect the behaviour of our young people as well as... thwart well-intentioned public policy," the statement continues.

"The IBDI proposes that if the ease of availability of alcohol at our retail checkouts could be curtailed, then there may be a lowering of alcohol-related harm to children, families and communities. 

The bishops urged the Government to expedite the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill 2015.

The statement from the autumn meeting also reiterated the bishops’s opposition to abortion, discussed next year's World Meeting of Families, which to expected to see the Pope visit Ireland, and offered prayers to those who lost their lives in the Las Vegas shootings last Sunday.