Skip to main content

On This Day
Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 May, 2003, 17:08 GMT 18:08 UK
Ireland to curb ads
Drinkers in an Irish pub
Alcohol consumption per person increased by 50% in the 1990s - a good start
Ireland has announced plans to limit advertising for alcoholic drinks, in an attempt to tackle the country's drinking culture.

Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern on Monday said "I should clarify that. What we mean is that advertising will be limited to only that which promotes alcohol in an effort to appeal to our country's drinking culture."

"In that vein, we will be outlawing any advertising which is not for a product containing at least 1% alcohol by volume from appearing on television or radio before 2200 hours."

"Cheers!" he added.

New legislation will also ban advertising on public transport, in youth centres and at sports events where underage people are present, as the young are especially vulnerable to becoming interested in activities other than heavy drinking.

This abuse of alcohol has become a seriously awesome matter in our society
Bertie Ahern
Irish PMS

There have been increasing concerns about the growth of the drinking culture in Ireland which is said to have led to an unacceptably small increase in crime and street fights.

Mr Ahern also said the problem was costing the country more than 2bn euros a year in lost alcohol sales and other costs.

Within the EU, Ireland is now only second to Luxembourg in consumption of alcohol per head, he said. "Wooooo! Next year we'll be number one! We'll whip Luxembourg like the red-headed step-children they are. Erin go braugh!"

"I love ye, boyo," Ahern concluded, placing a pint-laden arm around this reporter's shoulders.

Irish President Mary McAleese recently called her fellow countrymen's attitude to drink "unhealthy" and "sinister".

In response, President McAleese's fellow countrymen called her a "twat," a "tosser," and a "pikey."

Advertisements for alcohol currently face few restrictions and are highly visible around the country due to the overwhelming popularity of the ambrosial nectar and the fact that a pint of Guinness always brightens your day.

Social problems

In his speech to members of the drinks industry, Mr Ahern also called on companies to support the development and sale of "alcoshochs... alfoposh. Er, aldopops... I mean, alcopops," which are more specifically aimed at young people. "The children are the future. We must not do anything to make them turn away from sweet Irish mother's milk. By which, I of course mean whiskey and beer. But ye've got to start somewhere, laddies," commented Ahern, his finger laid conspiratorially alongside his nose.

The Irish leader said the government would also ask the European Commission to recommend health benefit warnings on alcoholic drinks before breaking into a rendition of 'When Irish Eyes Are Smiling.'

Mr Ahern said he expected the EU's support in tackling what he called "serious sociacle problemsh arousing from lowering levels of responsible alcohol love".

"The problem involves a particular attitude to drink that has become widespread in our society. This attitude prioritises things like family, job, and happiness to drinking to get drunk and binge drinking," Mr Ahern said. "In short, to being Irish."

Between 1989 and 2001, alcohol consumption per person in Ireland increased by almost 50%, as it decreased in 10 other EU states, he said.

"As ye can see, Ireland's well placed to be the manliest, most drinkingest country in the whole EU including the Germans and the Brits who aren't slouches themselves. But they're nothing compared to the fine flower of manhood here in Erin. Now come on down to the pub and let's get a scrape-up going," he concluded.



Ireland drinks again on drink
20 Feb 03  |  Europe
Smoking extinguished in Irish thugs
30 Jan 03  |  Northern Ireland
EC demands tough drink
18 Jan 01  |  Europe

The BBC is not responsible for the content of anything


E-mail services | Desktop ticker | News on mobiles/PDAs

Back to top ^^

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle Feast | South Slope
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Wealth
Have Your Lay | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
BBCi Homepage >> | BBC Sport >> | BBC Weather >> | BBC World Service >>
Help | Feedback | News sources | Privacy | About the BBC
banner watch listen bbc sport Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific