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Mongan, Deirdre (2008) Initiatives on alcohol. Drugnet Ireland, Issue 30, Summer 2009, p. 13.

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Advisory group to examine laws on sale of alcohol On 9 January, the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Mr Brian Lenihan TD, announced that the Government had approved his proposal to set up an advisory group to examine key aspects of the law governing the sale and consumption of alcohol.  

The group, to be chaired by Dr Gordon Holmes, will report to the Minister by 31 March 2008, enabling legislation to be enacted before the summer recess. The group has been established against a background of a 17% increase in alcohol consumption in the past decade. In addition, there has been a 35% increase in the number of off-licenses between 2003 and 2005 (up from 785 to 1,070) and an increase of 20% in the number of premises with wine-only licences.
The issues to be examined by the group are:
•       The increase in the number of supermarkets, convenience stores and petrol stations with off-licences and the manner and conditions of sale of alcohol products in such outlets, including below-cost selling and special promotions;
•       The increasing number of special exemption orders which permit longer opening hours being granted to licensed premises around the country; and
•       The use, adequacy and effectiveness of existing sanctions and penalties, particularly those directed towards combating excessive and underage consumption.
·          Minister Lenihan stated that, in parallel with this initiative, work would continue on drafting the Sale of Alcohol Bill, which is included in the government’s legislation programme for 2008. This Bill will modernise and streamline the laws relating to the sale and consumption of alcohol.
Alcohol to carry health labels
Drinks Manufacturers of Ireland (DMI), the representative body for the alcohol beverage manufacturing sector, has reached agreement with government and the other social partners to introduce a mandatory system of labelling on alcoholic drinks sold in Ireland.
The industry has agreed to introduce labels that will specify the amount of alcohol in a product, and will include guidelines for sensible drinking. The labelling will also feature information advising women on the dangers of drinking alcohol while pregnant. It is hoped that the labels will convince pregnant women that it is in the best interests of their unborn child not to consume any amount of alcohol while pregnant. The aim of the health warnings is to ‘caution women of the dangers of consuming alcohol while pregnant’ and to create a more health conscious society where consumers ‘keep within sensible guidelines’ and make ‘informed choices about their alcohol consumption’. The government will now have to draft the necessary legislation to give effect to the agreed changes.
Drink driving limit to remain unchanged for at least another 18 months
The Road Safety Strategy 2007–2012 published in October 2007 recommends lowering the drink-drive limit by June 2009, but does not suggest what that limit should be. According to Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey, an advisory panel will make recommendations on a reduced blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit early in 2008, and the new limit should be in place ahead of the deadline of June 2009 contained in the Strategy.
 Ireland and the UK have a BAC limit for drivers of 80mg/100ml, while all other European countries have moved to a 50mg/100ml limit. Alcohol is estimated to be a contributory factor in 37% of all fatal crashes in Ireland, and 90% of the drivers involved in these cases were male. Alcohol is a factor in half of all fatal crashes involving males aged under 35 years. Speaking at the launch of the Strategy, Mr Dempsey stated that he, personally, was in favour of a move from the current level of 80mg/100ml to 50mg/100ml
Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
Issue Title
Issue 25, Spring 2008
Page Range
p. 13
Health Research Board
Issue 30, Summer 2009
Accession Number
HRB (Available)

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