Press Release

Martin announces details of legislation to curb alcohol advertising

Micheál Martin TD Minister for Health and Children today said the Government has approved proposals to develop legislation to reduce the exposure of children and adolescents to alcohol advertising, sponsorship, marketing and promotions.

Commenting, Minister Martin said, “In the last decade, Ireland has had the highest increase in alcohol consumption among EU countries. Between 1989 and 2001, alcohol consumption per capita in Ireland increased by 49% – in 2001 a staggering 14.5 litres of pure alcohol was consumed per adult in Ireland”.

“It is essential that we address the high exposure to the recurring positive messages about alcohol, which, over time, helps to create or reinforce the attitudes and beliefs, particularly of young people. Presently, alcohol advertisements infringe the Irish alcohol advertising codes in a number of ways, including the linking of alcohol use with social or sexual success and implying that alcohol has therapeutic effects. Based on the inadequacy of the current codes, there is a compelling case for an overhaul of the alcohol advertising codes, with particular attention to placement and effective monitoring” Minister Martin said.

My Department is in the process of drafting legislation, which will:

  • Limit where alcohol advertisements can be placed: TV, radio, cinema, magazines, schools, youth centres, public transport, and public buildings.
  • Ensure the content of alcohol advertisements does not appeal to children or adolescents.
  • Ban drinks industry sponsorship of children and adolescents leisure time activities.
  • Introduce a watershed on radio, television and cinema that will reduce the exposure of children to alcohol

“The Government is also committed to raising awareness of alcohol issues to promote greater understanding of the importance of public health alcohol policy. We will develop an information programme both in the school and out of school setting as part of an overall health promotion approach. It will discourage high risk drinking for those who wish to consume alcohol and expand appropriate health and social services to provide for people who experience problems as a result of other people´s or their own drinking”, the Minister said

“Alcohol related problems cost Irish society approximately€2.4 billion per year. Many accidents resulting in injury and death have been linked to alcohol consumption. A pilot study of alcohol related attendance in A&E showed that alcohol was a factor in one in four (25%) cases and 13% were clinically intoxicated. Marriage counselling services reported that alcohol abuse was the primary presenting problem in up to 25% of cases. Services dealing with the legal aspect of marital breakdown reported that up to 34% of clients cited alcohol abuse as the main cause of their marital problems. There is also convincing evidence to show that regular alcohol consumption increases the risk of liver cirrhosis, cancers of the mouth, voice box, oesophagus and liver”, said Minister Martin.

Minister Martin added that in conjunction with these proposals, Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Michael McDowell TD also obtained Government approval to draft a new Intoxicating Liquor Bill which aims to tackle drunkenness and disorderly conduct.