Sunday, December 3, 2023

Alcohol ads to be banned before 9pm in Ireland – The Spirits Business

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Ireland will enforce a ban on advertising alcohol on TV before 9pm, which will be implemented on 10 January 2025.

The ban means no alcohol adverts will be shown on TV between 3am-9pm from 2025

Ireland’s minister for health, Stephen Donnelly, signed the commencement order – a 3am-9pm broadcast watershed for alcohol advertisements on television – which aims to reduce the amount of alcohol-related content children see on TV.

The restrictions will also apply to Irish radio, from midnight to 10am, and then 3pm to midnight.

Dr Sheila Gilheany, CEO of Alcohol Action Ireland (AAI), said: “AAI, along with the members of the Alcohol Health Alliance Ireland, have strongly campaigned over many years to have this common-sense measure introduced which has widespread public support.

“It is particularly significant to welcome this development on World Children’s Day (20 November) as this is very much a children’s rights issue. While we are very pleased to see this commencement order, it is disappointing that it will be over a year before it comes into effect – more than six years since the legislation was passed by the Oireachtas.”

Gilheany expressed dissatisfaction at the lengthy time period before the ban will come into effect.

She added: “The slow pace of implementation of the PHAA is in stark contrast to the speed with which the government is seeking to increase the availability of alcohol through proposals in the Sale of Alcohol Bill to extend licensing hours and venues.

“It again points to the incoherence at the heart of government in relation to alcohol policy with the Department of Health seeking to decrease alcohol use through the modest measures within the PHAA while the Department of Justice is giving priority to alcohol industry demands.

“At the very least the two departments should be liaising over a key recommendation from the Oireachtas Justice Committee for a Health Impact Assessment of the Sale of Alcohol Bill.

“Given the appalling tragedy of four deaths every day in Ireland from alcohol, this points again to the need for an Alcohol Office for Harm Reduction which would drive policy in this area and coordinate cross-government action.”

A 2020 report from the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland revealed at least 50,000 minors in the country start to drink alcohol every year, and also claimed Diageo was the number-four advertiser to children (aged four-17).

The plans were first introduced in the Public Health Act 2018. On 15 November 2021, The AAI carried out a survey, titled ‘Thinks’, which showed 70% of polled people were in favour of the restrictions.

Last year, The Spirits Business looked into the World Health Organisation’s calls for tighter regulations on alcohol advertising.

In May, Spirits Europe pushed the European Commission to investigate Ireland’s alcohol labelling rules.

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