Warning labels on alcohol products

 

A chara, – In a country such as Ireland in which the social and public health costs of alcohol misuse is so enormous it is regrettable to see how the Oireachtas is struggling to pass the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill.

Anyone concerned with the consequences of alcohol misuse for tens of thousands of people of all ages in this country will be appalled by the efforts of those who represent the interests of the drinks and retail sales lobbies in the Dáil and Seanad who have delayed and modified the Public Health Bill’s proposals to segregate alcohol sales and to use health-related labelling.

Nevertheless, as you reported in your recent coverage of plans to put warning labels on alcohol products (News, July 16th), the Seanad has voted to introduce cancer warnings on alcohol products and also to introduce a 9pm “watershed” before which alcohol advertising cannot be broadcast. Even though the European Commission has the final say on such proposals, the very fact that they come this far must be an encouragement to all concerned with steering the proposals contained in the Bill through the Oireachtas.

Those who have formulated and supported the Bill are to be praised for their efforts on behalf of the many people in Ireland whose lives have and are being blighted by alcohol misuse.

I, for one, am grateful to them for their efforts to take a principled stand against very powerful vested interests that are doing everything in their power to stymie the introduction of legislation that in the long term will help to loosen that these interests have on the lives of a great number of people in this country. – Yours, etc,

Dr MICHAEL LOFTUS,

Crossmolina,

Co Mayo.