Following the release of the CSO figures in this, Alcohol Awareness Week, the head of the Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland Kathryn D’Arcy re-iterated the call for all stakeholders to participate in an evidence-based approach to address misuse.
“This issue is not how much we drink, but how we drink – and the industry wants to work with all of the relevant stakeholders to deliver an evidence-based approach to alcohol misuse.”
She called on Government, educators and health stakeholders to “be brave”, to allow industry be part of the solution.
“The 100,000 people employed by the drinks industry don’t want to see alcohol misused. We want to be part of the solution,” she concluded, “The time for evidence-based approach to misuse is now.”
David Smith, Country Director for Diageo, commented, “Diageo absolutely wants to reduce harmful consumption. We want to create a sustainable future that sees our products enjoyed and not misused by a mature audience.
“With new figures from the Revenue Commissioners showing that consumption has fallen by over 25% since 2001, this Alcohol Awareness Week, we’re calling on all stakeholders to consider the important role that the industry needs to play as part of the societal response to alcohol misuse. We don’t have all the answers, but we are willing to work with anyone who genuinely wants to make a difference.”
Maggie Timoney, Managing Director at Heineken Ireland, reflected his comments, stating, “Heineken is committed and has been committed to tackling alcohol misuse. History and best practice dictate that the most effective way to find solutions that have meaningful impact is to engage in a concerted effort by all parties involved. Our industry employs 100,000 people, purchases raw materials worth €1.1bn each year and the vast majority of Irish people consume alcohol in a manner that is entirely compatible with a healthy lifestyle.
“The Government’s recent excise increases have done little to affect societal change, succeeding only in threatening the future sustainability of the industry and in particular the Irish pub. We call on the Government to engage with us in a collaborative approach to tackle this issue which will make a real difference for generations to come.”
Anna Malmhake, Chief Executive of Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard, added, “We urge the government to work with all stakeholders to develop and introduce evidence-based solutions that will address alcohol misuse instead of punishing the majority of consumers who drink responsibly, with relentless tax hikes. As stated previously, we believe the reintroduction of the ban on below-cost selling could be an immediately effective policy move in this area.
“The industry has shown continued commitment to delivering a positive response to alcohol harm in Ireland through initiatives such as drinkaware. Looking forward, there are many things that the industry can do to bring about a society where alcohol is enjoyed, not abused – and being drunk is simply uncool.”