Industry response

The publication of the Alcohol Strategy marked an important day in Ireland's efforts, as a society, to address alcohol misuse, while recognising that the majority of people in Ireland drink alcohol responsibly. While broadly supportive of the proposed measures, the drinks industry has some areas for further discussion.

Engagement with industry

It is time for all of the government stakeholders to engage in a meaningful manner with the drinks sector. As we have long acknowledged, the drinks sector has a role in ensuring that issues such as underage drinking and drinking to excess are challenged. The sector wants to work with the various stakeholders in the development and introduction of evidence-based solutions that will address alcohol misuse, in particular amongst young people. Engaging with us will ensure that the government will deliver an effective set of proposals.

Education

Education was not prioritised in this strategy. Evidence shows that the principle influencers on youth drinking are parents and peers. The absence of education measures that could positively impact on a cultural acceptance of alcohol misuse from this Bill is a glaring omission. Read more about the role of education here [LINK]...

Marketing restrictions and sports sponsorship

The industry is committed to responsible and appropriate marketing of its products and is already subject to some of the most stringent co-regulatory codes of practice on alcohol advertising and sponsorship [LINK] anywhere in the world. With this in mind, we welcome the move towards statutory codes and we look forward to working with government on these codes.

The industry welcomed the Government's decision to discuss sports sponsorship further in light of the lack of clear evidence and the need to support our sporting organisations. However, the proposed measures contain an over-emphasis on marketing restrictions, without conclusive evidence that these proposals will address underage drinking and binge drinking. Such restrictions are anti-business and anti-jobs and will not deliver the government’s aim to reduce alcohol misuse.

Read more about why alcohol brands advertise and why the international evidence linking advertising/sponsorship and increased consumption is contradictory and therefore inconclusive [LINK]...

Labelling

The industry welcomed the Government's decision to introduce advice and alcohol content labelling requirements on alcohol beverages. Industry has supported this move since 2007, while urging government to take account of the ongoing discussions at an EU-level on a pan-European approach to including calorific content on alcohol labels.

Minimum unit pricing

The industry noted the Government’s decision to introduce a minimum unit price for alcohol and cautioned that it would be important to consider the legal aspects of such a move. The industry supports the reintroduction of the ban on below cost selling as a more effective policy move.