Media Release Alcohol Action Ireland
22 May 2023
Warm welcome for alcohol labelling – an important step to ensure the consumer’s right to know the risks from alcohol
Alcohol Action Ireland, today 22 May 2023, warmly welcomed the announcement that Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, has signed into law, Section 12 of the Public Health (Alcohol) Act 2018 which provides for alcohol products being sold in Ireland to have health information labels.
These regulations will ensure that no alcohol product can be sold without bearing a warning that informs the public that:
(i) “Drinking alcohol causes liver disease”
(ii) displays a health symbol intended to inform the public of the danger of alcohol consumption when pregnant, and
(iii) “There is a direct link between alcohol and fatal cancers”
In addition, the regulations make it mandatory that the alcohol and calorie content within the product is stated, and that the public health alcohol information website ‘askaboutalcohol.ie’ is displayed. Similar notices will also have to be placed in licensed premises.
Commenting on the announcement, Dr Sheila Gilheany, CEO Alcohol Action Ireland, said:
“This is a very significant development in alcohol policy and we commend Minister Donnelly for his leadership in this action. This measure goes some way to ensuring consumers are informed about some of the risks from alcohol.
Public health organisations and individuals across Ireland through the Alcohol Health Alliance and around the world strongly advocated for this measure because of the scale of the harms being experienced in Ireland from alcohol. While we are pleased that this day has finally come, we are very aware, though, that today:
- 2 or 3 people will receive a diagnosis of an alcohol-related cancer
- 16 babies will be born with the life-long condition of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder,
- 120 people will be in hospital today being treated for alcohol related liver disease
It has already been nearly five years since this measure was democratically mandated by the Oireachtas. We know that there is popular support for it with over 70% agreeing with the need for more information. Alcohol industry ads often include a line, ‘drink responsibly.’ We call on the industry to trade responsibly and accept that health information labelling of alcohol products is a reasonable and proportionate response to the scale of alcohol harm in Ireland.”
- Alcohol Health Alliance Ireland – group of nearly 60 organisations and individuals who came together to advocate for the measures in the Public Health (Alcohol) Act 2018.
- Alcohol Action Ireland working closely with our partners, European Alcohol Health Alliance, Eurocare, and the European Public Health Alliance, led a campaign to encourage public health advocates to make supportive submissions to the EU process during the recent notification period. By the close of the process, 60 such submissions were made representing 70% of all submissions. For all media enquiries and interview requests, please contact: Dr Sheila Gilheany, CEO Alcohol Action Ireland, E: Sheila.email@example.com
M: 086 2600903
Other useful resources: Media guide re non-stigmatising language