Kathryn D'Arcy, director of the Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland (ABFI) has said the "continued refusal" of the anti-drinks industry lobby to engage with the industry on potential solutions to alcohol misuse is "obtuse, wrong-headed and narrow-minded."
D'Arcy was commenting following the launch of a cross-party Oireachtas group on alcohol misuse, launched yesterday, which will be overseen by Alcohol Action Ireland and includes members from Fine Gael, Labour, Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and Independents. The central aim of the group is to oversee the implementation of the Public Health Alcohol Bill.
“The vast majority of Irish people consume alcohol in a manner that is entirely compatible with a healthy lifestyle," said D'Arcy. “In the last month we’ve written twice to the Department of Health – they have refused to engage with us.
“We have requested that industry could participate in a key Alcohol Conference being hosted by Alcohol Forum, they declined to allow us to participate. “And today we see the announcement of an informal, all-party group seeking to progress legislation and policy that can help reduce alcohol harm in Ireland, with a particular emphasis on the Public Health Alcohol Bill, again with no suggestion of dialogue with the sector."
D'Arcy said that it was important to remember that the drinks industry employs 62,000 people, and that "policy decisions affect their future. Those who propose policies in a vacuum would do well to remember this."
She added: “Minister Reilly, Minister White and their officials must engage with the industry. We’ve a lot in common. We don’t want misuse of our product. We both have the same objective but come at it from different view-points."
© 2014 - Checkout Magazine by Stephen Wynne-Jones