herald

Thursday 14 November 2019

Booze ads banned near to schools and on buses next week

Health Minister Simon Harris said:
Health Minister Simon Harris said: "Alcohol is a drug and one which has real risks and harms associated with it

Alcohol advertising will be banned within 200 metres of a school, creche or a local authority playground from next week.

The new set of regulations, which comes into effect on November 12, also outlaws booze ads on buses, trains, at bus stops and train stations .

Alcohol advertising in cinemas will be prohibited except for films with an 18 classification or in the theatre's bar area. It also cannot be featured on children's clothing.

Pricing

The plans are part of the phased implementation of the Public Health (Alcohol) Act which provides for proposed minimum unit pricing.

Under the provisions, a person guilty of an offence could be fined up to €5,000, jailed for up to six months or both.

A conviction on indictment could lead to a fine of up to €250,000 or imprisonment for three years. Health Minister Simon Harris said: "Alcohol is a drug and one which has real risks and harms associated with it.

"It damages our health, harms our communities and hurts many families.

''That's why we have for the very first time legislated for alcohol as it affects our health.

"The sanctions, I believe, are an acknowledgement of the seriousness in which we have to treat alcohol."

Mr Harris said that large companies "have lured our children into alcohol addiction" through advertisement.

"From this month, we will enforce clear boundaries and restrictions for companies who try to target our children.

''And for those who fail to adhere to it, there will be consequences including significant financial penalties," he added.

Curtain

Other elements of the law which will come into effect include the so-called "booze curtain" for shops.

In mixed retail outlets alcohol products and advertising will be confined in an area separated by a 1.2-metre high barrier.

Units in which alcohol products are not visible will be up to 1.5 metres. Up to three units could mean a maximum of one metre wide by 2.2 metres high. In addition, alcohol products can be contained but not be visible in a unit behind the counter.

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