The Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland (ABFI) has welcomed the move by TDs from across the political divide to submit what it says are reasonable amendments on behalf of the TDs' constituents to the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill.
The ABFI has also criticised Alcohol Action Ireland for stating that by submitting amendments, these TDs are backing the alcohol industry ahead of people’s health.
ABFI director Patricia Callan said, “Nobody disagrees that alcohol misuse and underage drinking should be addressed. But we need a piece of legislation that is effective, evidence-based and does not do undue harm to an important Irish industry.
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“While we as an industry support the objectives of the Bill, we are concerned about a number of proposed measures, and for some time have been calling for sensible amendments to be made to balance the Bill.
“In particular, we are concerned about the proposal to add cancer warning labels to our quality products. This is because no other country in the world has mandatory cancer labels on alcohol products and legislating for them here would have a hugely negative reputational impact on our brands.
“The amendments that have been submitted are required to protect the reputation of Ireland’s quality drinks brands, to allow continued innovation in the drinks sector, to ensure brewery and distillery visitor centres can grow and to safeguard rural jobs and the economy.
“This is an important piece of legislation and TDs that have submitted these amendments are rightfully trying to get the Bill right, not to delay it. For the Department of Health funded Alcohol Action Ireland to claim that they are somehow delaying the legislation or disregarding public health is both disingenuous and false. I fail to see how deleting a cancer warning label or allowing tourists see directional signage to visitor centres can be seen as promoting underage drinking or alcohol misuse.
“The fact that there is cross-party support for these amendments reflects the long and detailed debate on the bill and an acceptance of the need for reasonable and thoughtful amendments to be made.”
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