Press Release

Minister O´Malley welcomes Drinks Industry Watchdog´s Tough New Code to Prevent Sale and Promotion of Alcohol to Under 18s

Mr Tim O´Malley TD, Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children, today (1st June 2004) welcomed the recent launch of the MEAS (Mature Enjoyment of Alcohol in Society Ltd) Code of Practice on the Naming, Packaging and Promotion of Alcoholic Drinks. Minister O´Malley stated “The new code will ensure that alcohol is sold only to persons over 18 years and that alcohol is promoted and sold in a socially responsible way.”

Among the key provisions of the Code are that a drink, its packaging or any promotional material or activity, must not; promote its alcoholic content as a dominant theme, suggest any association with violent or anti-social behaviour, suggest that consumption can lead to success or popularity or encourage illegal, irresponsible or immoderate consumption such as binge-drinking, drunkenness or drink-driving.

The Code of Practice will be overseen by a five-person Independent Complaints Panel representing key stakeholders and failure to comply with its decisions will involve a range of sanctions including referral to the Garda authorities when licence renewal or transfer arises. Decisions of the Complaints Panel will also be made public by way of press statements.

Complaints by members of the public, any consumer group or any other interested party may be made to the Independent Complaints Panel by writing to the Chief Executive, MEAS, 1 – 3 Lower Fitzwilliam Street, Dublin 2.

Minister O´Malley, in welcoming this new Code, said “I am confident that this development will help in tackling the alcohol culture prevalent in Irish society today and promote more socially responsible attitudes to drink”.