Alcohol Bill: Anger as minister reconsiders warning labels
The controversy surrounding the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill continues unabated, with the latest twist being the removal of an amendment placing prominent cancer health warnings on all alcohol packaging.
22 June 2018
The Alcohol Bill has raised its head in the Dáil once again this week, with the decision by government to remove the provision that alcohol products must bear a very prominent cancer health warning. The Bill previously said that the warning should take up one-third of the label’s size on cans and bottles of alcohol.
The Irish Times reports that this move came from health minister Simon Harris, while Labour party TD Sean Sherlock also introduced an amendment calling for the deletion of all provisions tgghat include cancer warnings in advertising; the Irish Cancer Society strongly criticised the decision, calling it “a stunning U-turn”.
Both TDs stated that their amendments come on the back of an EU Commission ruling, which came after complaints from several alcohol manufacturers across the EU that the size of the health warnings was “disproportionate” and went beyond what was neccessary to meet the government’s health objective.
Sherlock said he is not against health warnings on poackagins, but that “one-third of a label is just going to kill smaller batch producers from a cost control point of view, particularly those who arrived on the market just in the past five years or so.”
Distributors have cited concerns about the labels, suggesting that small overseas producers may decide to no longer export to Ireland rather than incur the cost of the different labels.