The Evil Empire

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You’ll note quite a lot of coverage in the April issue of Drinks Industry Ireland about the work of ABFI and the DIGI in countering misinformation and rumour in regard to the industry and the misuse of alcohol.



16 April 2013

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That’s because their story is not often told, the unseen work that they do seldom appreciated for the results it often achieves beneath the PR gloss. The research and studies undertaken by these bodies is often extremely significant and of great relevance to the alcohol debate.

But I believe that there’s another reason for mentioning them today. From comments made by Government Ministers and from the general wary attitude displayed by the anti-alcohol lobby and the Department of Health, there has never been a better time not only for setting the record straight and re-emphasising the industry’s commitment to tackling alcohol misuse, but to re-iterate that it’s direction and emphasis remains fact-based. Action will be taken and comment made on behalf of the industry only in regard to the appropriate facts having been established.

Compare this with the dog-in-the-manger approach of the anti-alcohol groups who inherently believe that any dealing with the drinks industry is nothing less than consorting with ‘the Evil Empire’.

As stated above, the industry’s reaction to any issues remain firmly fact-based. Action taken in this respect will have reference to those facts.

Again, compare this attitude to that adopted by our Junior Minister for Health Alex White who stated for the record that the Government was “not going to wait” to see how measures to tackle alcohol abuse worked in other countries.

“We won’t be deferring our decision” he told a recent Alcohol Forum, “we’re not commissioning more research to see how other countries get along”.

Fine, we shouldn’t have to look any more at ‘other countries’ but neither should we risk needlessly damaging an industry that employs so many by moving ahead without the appropriate research being undertaken. Here no one looks for postponement of action but for action to be taken commensurate with the known facts.

Compare this finally from the Minister’s perspective: it’s better to launch the population and the economy headlong into the breach than to take an informed approach to the problem; better to go off half-cocked than take note of the evidence (or lack of it) – especially if it might have been supplied by the Evil Empire.



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