Ireland plans alcohol crackdown

Prime minister proposes many advertising restrictions

May 21, 2003 - The Irish government plans to require health warnings on alcoholic drinks and limit liquor ads that invade every corner of Irish life.


Prime Minister Bertie Ahern told European brewers in Dublin that young people shouldn't be exposed to saturation marketing of alcohol, which he said was fueling a new "drink to get drunk" culture in a country where the pub has been the hub of life for generations.

Ireland has the second highest per capita consumption of beer in the world, second only to the Czechs.

He said the government plans to ban alcohol ads from buses, trains, cinemas and sporting events involving young people, while no ads for beer or other alcoholic beverages would be permitted before 10 p.m. on Irish television.

Such ads are seen in almost every public space and event brochure in Ireland, where more than 10,000 pubs serve a population of 3.8 million. The Irish brewing giant Guinness sponsors the national soccer squad, while Heineken has the rugby team.

Putting health warnings on beer, wine and liquor would require approval from the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, Ahern said. But Ahern said he expected the EU's support.

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