Do planned restrictions on alcohol ads go too far?

Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland claims upcoming laws will effectively see some iconic ads 'banned'

Do planned restrictions on alcohol ads go too far?

Guinness Christmas ad

Representatives of the alcohol industry have warned new legislation could effectively see some familiar & iconic ads 'banned'.

The Public Health Alcohol Bill - which has yet to be enacted - will see significant restrictions placed on alcohol advertising.

Under the bill, ads will have to feature prominent warnings, and will allow for only a very limited range of imagery to be included.

The bill - which also legislates for minimum unit pricing - has been welcomed by organisations calling for greater regulation of the alcohol industry here.

Alcohol Action Ireland says the measures contained in the bill can provide a reasonable, pragmatic means of reducing alcohol related harm in Ireland.

The Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland (ABFI), however, is among the groups objecting to the changes.

They cite a recent study that suggested the advertising restrictions will have serious consequences for the Irish media industry.

According to the ABFI, the bill will ban images such as scenes in a pub; images of people consuming alcohol; images involving a story or action sequence (other than alcohol production); and images of animals.

The organisation has posted a video of the cuts they suggest would have to be made to a long-running Guinness Christmas ad to reflect the planned legislation.

Patricia Callan of the ABFI said the bill will be 'particularly harmful' for small producers and new entrants to the market

She argued: "Although the principles behind the Alcohol Bill are well intentioned, the impact of the advertising restrictions will have devastating consequences for the drinks industry in Ireland.

"The Bill will also see the iconic Guinness Christmas ad banned, which for many is a sentimental feature of the festive season. ABFI proposes a much more workable solution to place the alcohol advertising codes on a statutory footing, with significant penalties for breaches."

Alcohol ads will be limited to the following content under the legislation: