The Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland (ABFI) has once again spoken out against the Public Health Alcohol Bill, this time asserting that its terms make Ireland one of the most restrictive countries in the world for marketing alcohol products.
The Bill places extensive restrictions on the content and placement of alcohol advertising, including the banning of drinks advertisements in public parks, on public transport, and within 200 metres of school grounds. It will also ban the showing of Guinness's iconic Christmas advert, as detailed in the below video published by the ABFI this week.
Commenting on the group's aversion to the Bill, ABFI director Patricia Callan said, "Although the principles behind the Alcohol Bill are well intentioned, the impact of the advertising restrictions will have devastating consequences for the drinks industry in Ireland. The Bill will make it extremely difficult for all drinks companies to advertise their products, and is particularly harmful for small producers and new entrants who have invested heavily in breweries and distilleries across Ireland and have less brand awareness. This Bill will make it extremely difficult to establish new products in Ireland and ultimately harms the drinks industry's innovation, export and growth potential."
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According to a recently published report by economist, Jim Power, entitled "The Potential Impact on Irish Media of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill 2015", the Bill will result in a loss of €20 million in annual advertising revenue for Irish media.
The report also stated that international research does not provide conclusive evidence that a ban or severe restriction on alcohol advertising would achieve the desired effect of reducing the consumption of alcohol and particularly consumption among young people.
On the topic of alternatives to the Bill's restrictions, Callan declared, "ABFI proposes a much more workable solution to place the alcohol advertising codes on a statutory footing, with significant penalties for breaches. This could be implemented within a much shorter timeframe with a regulatory authority already in place."