On World Children’s Day, AAI welcomes the alcohol advertising broadcast ban before 9pm – an important step in reducing children’s exposure to alcohol promotion

Alcohol Action Ireland (AAI) welcomes reports that Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly has signed the commencement order of Section 19 of the Public Health (Alcohol) Act 2018 (PHAA) which places a 9 p.m. broadcast watershed for alcohol advertisements on television. On radio, the watershed will apply from midnight to 10am, and then from 3pm to midnight. The restrictions will come into force on 10 Jan 2025.

This measure will help to reduce the level of exposure of children to alcohol marketing, which is known to be a key driver of both initiating alcohol use by children and increasing use. It is a particularly important restriction given that Diageo is currently the Number 4 advertiser to children in Ireland and at least 50,000 children start to drink every year.

Two further sections of the Act in relation to advertising remain to be commenced – Section 13, which places restrictions on the content of alcohol advertisements and Section 18 which relates to advertisements in publications.

Dr Sheila Gilheany, CEO of Alcohol Action Ireland commented:

‘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 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.

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 co-ordinate cross-government action.’


Notes to editor: 

  1. Diageo – Number 4 broadcast advertiser to children. Broadcasting Authority of Ireland Statutory Report on the Effect of the BAI Children’s Commercial Communications Code 
  2. Polling data – 70% support introduction of broadcast watershed for alcohol advertising. 
  3. Extended licensing hours details in proposed Sale of Alcohol bill 
  4. Lack of communication between Depts of Justice and Health. Alcohol industry meetings with Department of Justice officials. 
  5. Four deaths every day from alcohol in Ireland. Global burden of disease study.  
  6. Alcohol Office Policy Briefing. 

For media enquiries and interview requests, please contact:   

Conor Keane  

 Tel: 087 995 0186   

Email: conor.keane@alcoholactionireland.ie 


Other useful resources:  

Media guide re non-stigmatising language