Health Promotion Policy Unit


  • Monitor and evaluate the continued implementation of the aims and objectives contained in published strategies including the National Cardiovascular Health Policy and lead and contribute to the development of new National Strategies and Policies to promote health improvement.
  • Lead inter-sectoral work in addressing lifestyle behaviours impacting on health
  • Ensure appropriate national research on health and lifestyle behaviours of the population is undertaken in order to inform long-term policy development
  • Contribute to the development of Health Promotion Policies in the context of North/South Co-operation, as well as at EU and international level
  • Lead the development of policy on Rare Diseases

The Health Promotion function of the Unit is to develop policies and to support efforts to create greater awareness of the positive impact healthy lifestyles can have and to identify measures that could be put in place to make it easier for people to adopt healthy lifestyles. In practical terms this means seeking to reduce smoking and alcohol consumption levels, encouraging people to eat a healthy diet and to be physically active.


The Unit, supported by the Department of Community, Equality and Gaeltacht Affairs, is leading the development of National Substance Misuse Strategy which will incorporate alcohol and drugs into a combined strategy. A Steering Group, which is jointly chaired by Department of Health and Children and the Office of the Minister for Drugs is currently developing the text on the alcohol elements. Membership of the Group reflects the appropriate statutory, community/voluntary and other relevant interests. The Report from the Steering Group is expected to be presented to the Minister early in 2011.


The Department is currently carrying out a review of tobacco policy in Ireland. In this regard a Workshop was held in June 2010, attended by the key stakeholders involved in smoking policy, to discuss how to reduce smoking rates in the Irish population. Following the workshop the Department established a Group comprising of the Department, the Health Service Executive (HSE) and the Office of Tobacco Control to consider the outcome of the Workshop and to formulate proposals on what further measures might be taken to reduce initiation and prevalence of smoking in Ireland. The work of this Group is continuing.

Diet, Nutrition and Physical Activity

The food pyramid and national healthy eating guidelines are being reviewed and a revised vesion is to issue shortly. The National Physical Activity Guidleines were launched in June 2009. These set out how much exercise is desirable for children and adults, including older adults, and provide practical advice on how this can be achieved. The Unit works with the HSE, Department of Transport and other stakeholders in developing national strategies to promote physical activity.

Cardiovascular Health Strategy

In June 2010 a new cardiovascular policy “Changing Cardiovascular Health: Cardiovascular Health policy 2010 – 2019 “ was launched. This policy establishes a framework for the prevention, detection and treatment of cardiovascular diseases, including stroke, which will ensure an integrated and quality assured approach to their management, so as to reduce the burden of these conditions.


The Unit also supports and undertakes population research to monitor trends on the health and behaviours of the Irish population. The most recent report, SLÁN 07 has produced a range of reports which are available at


Principal Officer Dr John Devlin
Assistant Principal Officers Robbie Breen


  • Telephone: 01 - 635 4095
  • Fax: 01 - 635 4375

Additional Information


This is the HSE Health Promotion Information site. You can use this site to order Health Promotion materials free of charge or search for other sources of consumers health information

Other useful sites on lifestyle health issues which may be of interest include: