Home > Dáil Éireann debate. Written answer 642 – Alcohol sales [Advertising] [12853/22].

[Oireachtas] Dáil Éireann debate. Written answer 642 – Alcohol sales [Advertising] [12853/22]. (08 Mar 2022)

External website: https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/question/2022...

642. Deputy Colm Burke asked the Minister for Health the estimated timeframe for the completion of the relevant draft regulations with regard to section 12 and 13 of the Public Health Alcohol Act 2018 including the revision of same by the Office of the Attorney General; the estimated timeframe for the submission of and assessment by the European Commission of the draft regulations to; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12853/22]

Stephen Donnelly, Minister for Health: Sections 12 and 13 of the Public Health (Alcohol) Act 2018 empower the Minister for Health to make Regulations on the labelling of alcohol products and the content of advertising respectively. 

Work on commencement of these sections of the Public Health (Alcohol) Act was suspended throughout 2020 and much of 2021 due to resources being diverted to COVID-19 related areas; that work has now restarted. 

Draft regulations under section 12 of the Act have been developed and are currently with the Office of the Attorney General for settling. Draft regulations under section 13 are currently being developed.  

The process in relation to the draft regulations under section 12 is that Ireland is required to notify the draft to the European Commission under the Single Market Transparency Directive (EU) 2015/1535. Once notified, a 3-month standstill period is triggered during which the Commission and other Member States assess the draft rules in the context of Single Market principles. 

This Directive enables the Commission, EU Member States and participating countries to react to any potential barriers to the free movement of products and the provision of information society services and reactions can take one of the following forms: 

  • The Commission, the EU Member States and the other participating countries can issue ‘comments’ to be taken into account by the country that has notified a draft rule or rules, if the notified draft needs to be adjusted. 
  • The Commission and EU Member States can also send the notifying Member State a ‘detailed opinion’ if a serious concern is identified. This extends the standstill period and opens a dialogue phase with the notifying country. The potential barrier identified can thus be effectively addressed. 
  • If an EU proposal in the same area is in the pipeline, the Commission can take a ‘blocking decision’ to postpone the adoption of the national measure. 

In relation to section 13 of the Act, Ireland is required to notify the draft advertising regulations to the European Commission under the Food Information to Consumers Regulation (EU) No. 1169/2011. This Regulation establishes the general principles, requirements and responsibilities governing food information and in particular food labelling. 

On receipt of the notification, the Commission shall consult the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health if it considers such consultation to be useful or if a Member State so requests. The Member State notifying the draft regulations may take the envisaged measures only 3 months after the notification, provided that it has not received a negative opinion from the Commission. However, if the Commission’s opinion is negative, and before the expiry of the 3 month period, the Commission shall initiate an examination procedure in order to determine whether the envisaged measures may be implemented subject, if necessary, to the appropriate modifications.

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