Alcohol consumption is on the decline in Ireland and has been for some time 6 months ago

Alcohol consumption is on the decline in Ireland and has been for some time

The figures suggest that we’re drinking less and have been for quite a while…

New figures from the Revenue Commissioners show that the level of consumption of alcohol fell in Ireland in 2017 in what is becoming something of a trend in this country.

The average per adult consumption of alcohol declined by approximately 1.4% in 2017 and while that might not seem like a lot, a recent report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) suggests that alcohol consumption in this country has declined by 25% since 2005.

An ESPAD (European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs) report, meanwhile, published in 2016, showed a significant decline in underage alcohol consumption, with Ireland moving from 8th to 28th out of 33 countries analysed over the course of the study.

The latest figures have been welcomed by the Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland (ABFI), the representative body for drinks manufacturers and suppliers in Ireland, ahead of the conclusion of the second stage debate on the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill in the Dáil, during which some TDs have raised concerns about issues such as labelling and advertising restrictions.

In a statement, Patricia Callan, Director of Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland (ABFI), called for what she described as “reasonable amendments” to some of the measures in the bill at committee stage.

“While the drinks industry supports the objectives of the Alcohol Bill, to tackle harmful and underage drinking in Ireland, we believe that any measure introduced as part of this Bill should be rooted in evidence, proportionate and should not represent a barrier to free trade, which we believe is currently the case with the Bill as drafted,” Callan said.

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“We are calling on the Government to remove the requirement for a cancer warning label from the Bill,” Callan added.

“No other country in the world has introduced mandatory cancer warnings on alcohol products. Therefore, it could represent a barrier to free trade. Additionally, such a measure would have a hugely negative impact on small producers, resulting in significant additional costs and logistical difficulties.

Callan also said that the ABFI are seeking an amendment to the Alcohol Bill to prevent a ban on all forms of a storyline in alcohol advertisements.

“The Alcohol Bill contains measures that would severely restrict the content and placement of alcohol advertising, including a ban on all forms of a storyline in alcohol ads,” Callan continued.

“These strict new rules, which are not proven to work, are being introduced even though the alcohol industry in Ireland already abides by extremely strict codes regulating how alcohol is advertised.

“We know that these codes work, given the ongoing fall in alcohol consumption. We are seeking an amendment to the Alcohol Bill to allow alcohol advertisements to include storylines.”