Face of anti-drink driving TV campaign warns: "it hasn’t got better"

Alcohol abuse in Donegal is leading to serious health problems, according to a consultant in emergency medicine at Letterkenny University Hospital.

Dr Gerry Lane was speaking this week before his work as a senior figure at the hospital was recognised at a special ceremony by Donegal County Council.

Dr Gerry Lane, Letterkenny University Hospital consultant in emergency medcine. Pictured April 2018 Dr Gerry Lane, Letterkenny University Hospital consultant in emergency medicine.

He said: “There’s a whole swathe of very worrying middle class, middle aged people who are drinking at home, but their drinking is not controlled.

“They are not in harm because they are not in their cars and things like that, but they are developing esophageal problems, liver problems, and cardiac issues and they are attending with the medical consequences thereafter.

“Some 23 per cent of trauma cases in Letterkenny have been related to alcohol consumption. That number doubles at the weekend and then, in the evening, in Letterkenny – like so many other places – it’s actually scary to go into the emergency department because there is a large number of people who are inhibited due to the alcohol that they have on board.”

Letterkenny Univsersity Hospital doctor Gerry Lane in RSA road safety campaign.

Dr Lane, who is well known as the face of an anti-drink driving TV campaign in 2008 by the Road Safety Authority, added: “Alcohol abuse is widespread. It accounts for a quarter or a half of our work.

“It hasn’t got very better over the last several years regretfully.”

Dr Lane, who is originally from Drogheda in Co Louth, was honoured last night in the Council Chamber of Letterkenny Public Service Centre by Letterkenny mayor, who is Fine Gael Cllr Jimmy Kavanagh.

He was honoured for his contribution to health services in Letterkeny, as was retired psychiatric nurse and addiction counsellor Hugh McBride, who is from Falcarragh.

If you have a story or want to send a photo or video to us please contact the Donegal Now editorial team. Between 9am and 5pm Monday to Sunday please call 074 9112712. Between 5pm and midnight please call or text 086 792 2103. Or you can email [email protected] at any time.