The Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland (ABFI) has called the proposed structural separation of alcohol products in this week's Public Health (Alcohol) Bill a move that "undermines the sensibilities of people and is a true example of nanny-state gone mad."
Director of the ABFI, Ross MacMathúna also commented, “The proposed labelling and structural separation changes will have serious implications for Ireland’s indigenous craft beer and craft whiskey businesses that are still trying to get a fair foothold within the market.”
The proposed new rules include a ban on alcohol advertising in cinemas, proposals for minimum pricing, and a 9pm broadcast watershed. In addition, under the Bill, breaches of the sponsorship and marketing rules could be prosecuted under the criminal justice system, instead of relying on a voluntary code.
While ABFI has welcomed the proposed advertising codes in terms of banning campaigns aimed at children, it has also expressed concern over the additional restrictions.
“The Bill has draconian measures with regard to advertising that will instigate a series of unintended consequences, the upshot of which will be an end to investment in innovation in the sector,” said MacMathúna.
On minimum pricing, which would set a price of ten cents per gram of alcohol, he noted that Ireland already has the most expensive alcohol in the EU, as well as the highest excise rates. “Punishing moderate drinkers and hard pressed consumers will not solve the issues associated with alcohol misuse,” he said.
“The whole population should not be punished because a small minority abuse a product, and the unintended consequences of this bill will result in job losses, and no decrease in alcohol misuse."
Ibec has also criticised the Bill, saying it fails to provide effective measures to tackle the problem of alcohol misuse, and “instead penalises responsible consumers and a sector that provides valuable employment across the country.”
The group has called the Bill “another example of government regulation being introduced without any effort being made to establish the wider economic cost.”
Ibec CEO Danny McCoy commented, “The measures proposed on the advertising, marketing and pricing of alcohol will not address the problem [of alcohol misuse].”
© 2015 - Checkout Magazine by Jenny Whelan.