Campaigners say new rules for ads will 'de-normalise our cultural love affair with alcohol'

Alcohol Action Ireland has responded to claims that new legislation will see familiar ads disappear from TV

Campaigners say new rules for ads will 'de-normalise our cultural love affair with alcohol'

Picture by: Philip Toscano/PA Wire/PA Images

Alcohol Action Ireland has said planned regulations will positively "reshape our conscious relationship with alcohol".

The group has been commenting on the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill - a major piece of legislation that has yet to be enacted, and has faced significant delays as it passes through the Oireachtas.

The bill legislates for minimum unit pricing, and also places restrictions on the type of content that can be included in alcohol advertisements.

Last week, the Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland (ABFI) claimed the new rules could effectively see some familiar & iconic ads 'banned' - citing a long-running Guinness Christmas ad as one that would not fit the new criteria.

Alcohol Action Ireland, however, insists the new rules do not prohibit any alcohol companies from advertising their product.

Eunan McKinney, the group's Head of Communications and Advocacy, said: "Guinness seeks to capture our sentimental memories of Christmas so that they can be portray themselves as essential to the spirit of Christmas. In essence, the ABFI claim illustrates what they see as an infringement on Big Alcohol’s ‘acquisition’ of Christmas.

"This is precisely the link these modest measures seek to influence in the future. No longer will the Drinks Industry be able to hijack our every moment, reflect every emotion or share every success."

Alcohol Action Ireland says the main aim of the new legislation is to 'de-normalise' Ireland's cultural 'love affair' with alcohol - adding that advertisements contribute to that culture.

Mr McKinney suggests the new measures will only have an impact on a 'minute amount' of the alcohol industry's spending on advertising.

He added: "[The bill] allows for functional promotion but not the acquisition of appeal, emotion, glamour or success - the Drinks Industry will still have their ads but they can’t have Christmas too."

Last month, Health Minister Simon Harris said he is hoping to introduce minimum pricing by the autumn.