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CALL TO INVESTIGATE PUBLIC HEALTH IMPACT OF CHEAPLY AVAILABLE ALCOHOL

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History will be made at the Scottish Parliament today when MSPs take receipt of the Public Petitions Committee's 1,...
History will be made at the Scottish Parliament today when MSPs take receipt of the Public Petitions Committee's 1,000th petition.

School pupils, Roisin Craig, James McKee and Dilusha Pathiranay from All Saints Secondary School in Glasgow will present a petition to presiding officer George Reid and committee convener Michael McMahon.

The pupils' petition calls for the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Executive to investigate the public health impact of cheaply available alcohol.

It follows 999 other petitions on subjects including grey hounds, birds of prey, the capercaillie, Roman remains, ancient caves, student fees; gulf war syndrome, G8, bus fares, ferry routes and bridge tolls.

Mr Reid has been invited by the committee to accept the 1,000th petition. He was part of the consultative steering group which determined the Parliament should have a Public Petitions Committee.

He said:

'Many of the discussions that took place and shaped the Parliament that we now have were difficult.

'When it came to discussing a petitioning system, however, we were united. We were determined that we should be different, that we should be open and inclusive and that we should give the people access to their Parliament in a very Scots way.

'What grew out of those discussions was the Public Petitions Committee.'

Mr McMahon has been the convener of the committee since 2003 and has taken the petitions committee across Scotland.

He said:

'The public petitions committee has had some tremendous successes in taking forward issues on behalf of the people of Scotland in the form of its first 1,000 petitions.

'It is important though that the committee strives to be ever more accessible so that people from every walk of life and every corner of Scotland have the opportunity to engage with their parliament through the petitions system.

'Over the past three years we have held committee meetings and public participation events in Dundee, Inverness, Ayr, Dunfermline and Jedburgh to let people know how to engage with their Parliament and we look forward to hosting similar events in the future.'

'I look forward to the Committee receiving its next 1,000 petitions and to building on the successes of the past.

The pupils from All Saint's Secondary will give evidence on their petition at the Public Petitions committee's next meeting which will take place at the school in Glasgow on 30 October.

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