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Home > The National Substance Misuse Strategy. Minority report by the Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland.

Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland. (2012) The National Substance Misuse Strategy. Minority report by the Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland. Dublin: Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland.

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The Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland (ABFI) is the umbrella organisation for drinks industry manufacturers and suppliers. ABFI works to promote and support an environment that encourages the sustainable and responsible development of the alcohol beverage manufacturing sector in Ireland. The Irish drinks industry is a major national industry providing over 60,000 direct and indirect jobs, generating approximately €2 billion in excise and VAT revenues for the State, and supporting some of Ireland’s most successful international export products. Last year, our exports were valued at over €1bn, which is comparable to the total exports of prepared consumer foods. Our industry also plays a crucial role in domestic tourism, through the facilities and services we provide and our sponsorship of hundreds of cultural and sporting events and festivals. Our industry is currently facing major challenges due to the difficult economic environment and the significant change in consumption and structure of the drinks market. However, we continue to work to promote a responsible attitude to alcohol in Ireland. We do this through the successfully implemented suite of self- and co-regulatory codes of practice that we have agreed with Government on alcohol marketing, advertising, and sponsorship. We also provide a €20 million investment in Mature Enjoyment of Alcohol in Society (MEAS) and the highly visible , a consumer focused initiative aimed at reducing the culture of excessive drinking and promoting the responsible use of alcohol, while at the same time challenging anti-social drinking behaviour. ABFI was and remains an active and fully engaged member of the National Substance Misuse Strategy Group (NSMS). While ABFI objected to the concept of establishing the steering group to develop a joint strategy on drugs and alcohol, we attended and participated in all of the meetings of the steering group in a constructive and positive manner. ABFI objected – and still does - to the establishment of the joint strategy on the basis that, unlike illegal drugs, alcohol is a legal licensed product, which when consumed in a responsible manner can form part of a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Its establishment was not recommended by the National Drugs Strategy (NDS) working group of 2009. Despite these reservations, there is much in the majority report to be commended. ABFI supports the majority of the recommendations, in particular those which relate to community level activities, treatment and rehabilitation resourcing and prevention actions, such as education interventions, youth reach programmes, provision of alcohol free venues and activities for the youth and measures aimed at families. As far back as 2007, ABFI agreed to support Department of Health legislation to provide pregnancy advice and unit labeling of alcohol content on labels – a key recommendation in this report.

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