DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH PUBLIC HEALTH (ALCOHOL) BILL
Minister for Health, Simon Harris TD introduced the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill to the Dáil on 6 February 2018.
The executive committee of Magazines Ireland had lobbied on the Public Health Alcohol Bill and appointed a lobbyist to work on the issue in 2015. The association presented its position paper and submissions to the Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children; Dr Leo Varadkar, the then Minister for Health; Dr Tony Holohan, Chief Medical Officer and Geraldine Luddy at the Alcohol and Tobacco Control Unit. This is the second stage speech and there will be further debate in the Dáil.
The main sections relating to magazine media (Section 16, Sponsorship and Section 18, Advertising Restrictions) are as follows:
Section 16 prohibits the sponsorship of an event where the majority of those taking part are children, an event aimed particularly at children or an event that involves driving or racing cars or bikes.
Sponsorship is defined for the purposes of this section as any form of contribution to an event with the aim or effect of promoting an alcohol product, an alcohol brand or alcohol consumption.
Under section 16 the holder of a license can sponsor an event as long as that sponsorship does not include the promotion of an alcohol product or brand. A pub or other licensed premises can promote its business or premises through sponsorship, but it cannot promote a particular alcohol product or brand.
Section 18 provides for restrictions on alcohol advertising in publications.
The advertising space permitted for advertising alcohol products in a publication is restricted to a maximum of 20 per cent of the advertising space in the publication.
Advertisements for alcohol products are prohibited:
• in a publication aimed particularly at children
• in a publication or on a page of a publication which is intended or likely to have a readership of which more than 20 per cent is children
• on the front or back cover of a publication, or
• on the wrapper or other covering of a publication.
A publication cannot be imported for sale in the State if it breaches the provisions relating to advertising in publications or if it contains an advertisement that breaches the requirements on advertisements in section 13 of the Bill.
This section does not apply to publications that are intended for sale or distribution outside the State, that are directed solely at those in the business of selling or distributing alcohol products or specialist publications which are solely about alcohol products.
Publications by or on behalf of specialist off-licences which promote the sale of products in that premises are exempted from some of the requirements also.