ABFI offers lukewarm response to MUP bill proposal

ABFI has said the drinks industry and farming are dependent on each other
ABFI has said the drinks industry and farming are dependent on each other

The Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland has picked its way through government proposals on alcohol in order to point out the mistakes the Health Committee's percieved errors.



23 June 2015

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The Alcoholic Beverage Federation of Ireland has responded to the government’s proposed changes to alcoholic beverage packaging and pricing, saying that it wants to find workable and effective solutions to alcohol abuse, but that some of the sentiments in the Oireachteas Health Committee’s report are innacurate.

“ABFI welcomes the need for appropriate labelling which enables the consumer to make informed decisions when consuming alcohol,” said Ross Mac Mathuna, the AFBI’s director. “We also welcome the intention to move existing codes from a voluntary to statutory basis.

“However,” Mac Mathuna said, “if we are going to make a difference to the minority that misuse alcohol in this country, we need to be informed by the facts.”

Mac Mathuna said that the report’s reference to consumption levels in Ireland is inaccurate. He pointed out that Europe has seen a fall in overall alcohol consumption in the past 15 years (as per Revenue clearance and CSO data), and also that teenagers in Ireland are drinking less alcohol, as per this report.

“Recommendations on pricing fail to take in to account that Ireland is the second most expensive country in Europe in which to purchase alcohol,” Mac Mathuna continued. “Higher pricing does not deter those that want to abuse alcohol, but pushing the price up further will have unforeseen consequences on the cost of living, Ireland’s attractiveness as a tourist destination and on consumer confidence.”

With regard to the proposed health warnings on alcohol packaging, Mac Mathuna said that it should be product-appropriate. “There is no such thing as a safe cigarette,” he said, “but alcohol is a very different product. Consumed in moderation it can form part of a healthy diet.

“We need to enable a cultural shift,” he added.




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