Drinks industry warns Seanad of “perfect storm” created by Brexit and Alcohol Bill
The ABFI has launched a new report which explores the impact of Brexit on the Irish drinks industry, which warns of devastating economic consequences if steps are not taken by the government
5 May 2017 | 0
Agri-food economist Ciaran Fitzgerald has addressed the Seanad Brexit Committee on behalf of the €4bn drinks industry, to warn against the combined effects of Brexit and the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill.
Fitzgerald is the author of ABFI report The Impact of Brexit on the Irish Drinks Industry, in which he outlines a series of recommendations, which the industry calls on the government to implement to mitigate the potential negative side-effects:
- Reduce Ireland’s excise duties, which currently are the third-highest in the EU, with alcohol prices 175% above the EU average. This high cost impacts tourism and penalises consumers
- Walk back the restrictive measures in the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill, such as minimum unit pricing and strict rules on marketing and advertising
- Defer watershed restrictions on alcohol advertising on TV and radio, as “there is no evidence supporting their effectiveness
- Ensure protection of all-Ireland geographic indicators such as Irish Whiskey, Poitín and Irish Cream, including those produced in Northern Ireland
- Challenge EU state-aid rules to promote future trade with the UK
Fitzgerald acknowledged that certain elements of Brexit are beyond anybody’s control, these steps will contribute to keeping Ireland’s drinks industry healthy in the years and decades to come.