Ireland set to become first country with mandatory health warnings on alcohol

Display of information on dangers of drinking will be required from 2026

Ireland is set to become the first country in the world to introduce mandatory health labelling of alcohol products, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has said as he signed into law new public health regulations.

Providers of alcoholic drinks will be obliged to display warnings on product packaging telling consumers about both the risk of drinking when pregnant and the risk of liver disease and fatal cancers from alcohol consumption. Other health information such as calorie content and grams of alcohol must be displayed while packaging labels will also direct consumers to the Health Service Executive website for further information on alcohol consumption.

Similar health information will also be made available to those drinking in pubs and other licensed premises.

The law will apply from May 22nd, 2026, in order to give businesses three years to adapt to the new regulations.


“This law is designed to give all of us as consumers a better understanding of the alcohol content and health risks associated with consuming alcohol,” said Mr Donnelly. “With that information, we can make an informed decision about our own alcohol consumption.

“Packaging of other food and drink products already contains health information and, where appropriate, health warnings. This law is bringing alcohol products into line with that.

“I welcome that we are the first country in the world to take this step and introduce comprehensive health labelling of alcohol products. I look forward to other countries following our example.”

According to the annual Health Ireland survey, 79 per cent of respondents were unaware of the risk of breast cancer associated with drinking more than the recommended amount of alcohol. Some 49 per cent were unaware of the relationship between alcohol consumption and high blood pressure, while 7 per cent of respondents believed it to be safe to drink while pregnant.

Similar mandatory health warnings are already in place on tobacco products having been introduced through legislation in 2015.

Nathan Johns

Nathan Johns

Nathan Johns is an Irish Times journalist