Alcohol Bill this afternoon

The long-awaited Public Health (Alcohol) Bill will be published this afternoon by Health Minister Leo Varadkar having been given the go-ahead by Cabinet yesterday.

According to a report in today’s Irish Independent, criminal sanctions will be imposed for the first time for breaches of alcohol advertising, marketing and sponsorship under the proposed legislation.

It’s likely that the new legislation will add considerably to present regulations around the sale and advertising of alcohol here. For example it’s likely to ban advertising any marketing of alcohol which glamourises the product or makes it appealing to minors.

While it will not prohibit sports sponsorship by alcohol companies, it will ban computer-generated on-pitch advertising of alcohol.

Alcohol advertising is likely to be banned near schools, playgrounds and on public transport.

The content permitted in any alcohol advertising is also likely to find itself limited to giving specific information about the product itself but must include warnings about the health effects of consumption.

Despite an EU decision on Minimum Unit Pricing due to be published on 23rd December, the Bill is likely to press ahead with MUP for Ireland.

Warning labels on cans and bottles of alcohol will also be mandatory as will other information including the ABV of the product.

Following publication of the Bill, the legislation must move through the House of the Oireachtas to be debated before the Bill can be ratified.

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