Minister for Health has the power to act

Dr. Sheila Gilheany ; Alcohol Action Ireland ; March 31 2023 ;  

Sir, – I have sympathy for your letter writer about the “0 per cent loophole” regarding alcohol marketing (Letters, March 29th).

The Public Health (Alcohol) Act bans alcohol advertising on the sporting area as well as on public transport and in areas close to schools, playgrounds and public parks. The alcohol industry has responded to these very modest restrictions with a proliferation of zero alcohol product advertising in these very areas using identical branding to that of the parent brand.

The definition of advertisement used in the legislation is “any form of commercial communication intended to promote an alcohol product, whether directly or indirectly, including trademarks, emblems, marketing images and logos making reference to the product”.

Alcohol Action Ireland contends that this definition is broad enough to cover such advertising. This could be tested in legal proceedings or more straightforwardly an amendment could be brought in immediately to close any such loophole. It is up to the Minister for Health to defend the Government’s own policy of reducing the level of alcohol marketing which drives the staggering level of alcohol harm experienced in Ireland. – Yours, etc,

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