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“Self-regulation has failed. We need a new alcohol strategy”- Lynn Boylan MEP

30 April, 2015 - by Senator Lynn Boylan

Dublin Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has today voted in favour of the new EU report on alcohol strategy. Included in the strategy are proposals to introduce calorie labelling for alcoholic drinks.

Speaking after the vote Ms Boylan said:

“In Ireland, alcohol misuse and its associated consequences costs an estimated €3.7 billion per year, working out at over €3000 per taxpayer.

Unsurprisingly, allowing alcohol companies to self-regulate has failed to tackle the serious public health and public disturbance costs alcohol has for our society.

One of the world’s largest drinks companies, Diageo, has recently stepped down from a so-called ‘responsible drinking’ campaign in Ireland where its attempts to tamper with and dampen the public health message was clear.

It is unfortunate that alcohol sponsorship in sporting events was not introduced by the Irish government in its alcohol bill earlier this year.

Well-funded positive images of alcohol use from companies such as Diageo outweigh those of public health campaigns and have a powerful influence on young people.

It is the role of Member States to counter this influence. Information and education campaigns can play a key role here – whilst the European Commission should help to share best practice.

I welcome reference in the report to the nutritional labelling regulation.

The Commission is dragging its feet – it was meant to have come forward in December with a report on the possibility of including alcohol in nutritional labelling, with a view to proposing legislation.

If we’re able to know the calorie content of a Mars Bar, what, apart from industry concerns for profit margins, is stopping us knowing the same for an alcopop?”

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