Alcohol Action Ireland has said the latest report from the Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland (ABFI) once again puts narrow sectoral interests ahead of public health.
“It is clear from this report that the alcohol industry views the potential impact of Brexit as a crisis that requires a high level of State intervention on its behalf. The interventions called for in the report include fiscal and regulatory measures, as well as challenging EU State Aid rules to ensure the alcohol industry can receive certain subsidies from Government.
“It is understandable that the alcohol industry is concerned about Brexit and it is lobbying in its interests on that issue, but at the same time the very real public health crisis that currently sees three alcohol-related deaths every day in Ireland, as well as wide range of significant health and societal impacts, is being dismissed and the measures in the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill are once again under attack.
“The alcohol industry appears to see no conflict in calling for a range of State interventions, including fiscal and regulatory measures, on its behalf while arguing vehemently against such measures being adopted in the best interests of public health and wellbeing, despite the ongoing, devastating impact of alcohol misuse on individuals, families and communities throughout Ireland.
“While vested interests can afford to take such a narrow view of a much broader issue, the Government cannot. If the State is serious about improving public health, reducing pressure on the health service, and cutting the huge alcohol-related costs that we incur in Ireland then it will not allow this legislation to be picked apart, piece by piece, but will prioritise the health and wellbeing of its citizens.”