Struggling borrowers 'should get counselling'
on 05/03/2013 00:00:00
It does, however, recognise that the financial crisis is one of the contributory factors to a rise in suicide - particularly among middle-aged men.
"Banks must be compelled to provide for professional counselling to patrons in heavy mortgage, business and other forms of debt," the policy document says.
The party is also calling for an end to alcohol sponsorship of sports events and organisations which might "glamorise" drinking to young people.
However, launching the document yesterday, the party's Seanad spokesman on health, Marc MacSharry, refused to say if he would go as far as supporting government proposals for an all-out ban on sports sponsorship by the drinks industry.
Alex White, minister for primary care, is to bring proposals on the issue to the Cabinet. Aa ban is opposed by Sports Minister Leo Varadkar, who fears sport organisations will suffer from a funding shortfall.
Fianna Fáil calls for a "phase-out of alcohol sponsorship and advertising specifically aimed at young people" in its document.
It also urges a 7.5% tax on all off-license sales which would yield €120m which would be used to fund mental health services.
"We have the lie perpetrated that if I drink so much and party so hard that I'm going to end up playing for Ireland some day - because it's just not true," said Mr MacSharry. "It's not a question of being against alcohol or making it less accessible and controlled. But the glamorisation of it as a tool for which young people can reach for is wrong and I think we are not serving young people well so long as we allow our most popular events to be headlined by alcohol."
Asked if he supported the proposals by Mr White, he said their proposal was "specifically to do with the targeting of young people".
"If there are events or concerts, other youth events obviously including sports, you have to have a set of standards that would not unfairly target young people which we believe to be the case. It is not about being for or against anybody's strategy But I welcome any good moves in this area."
Mr MacSharry hopes the proposals will be tabled as a private members' motion in the Dáil or Seanad.