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Dublin: 12 °C Friday 6 December, 2019
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Companies that break new alcohol advertisement rules will face fines and jail time

Alcohol ads will be banned near schools, creches and playgrounds from next week.

From 12 November, alcohol advertising on public transport, bus stops or stations will also be prohibited.
From 12 November, alcohol advertising on public transport, bus stops or stations will also be prohibited.
Image: Shutterstock/G-Stock Studio

THOSE THAT ADVERTISE alcohol within 200 metres of a school, a crèche or a local authority playground from next week could be slapped with a fine of between €5,000 to €250,000 or get six months to three years in prison. 

From 12 November, alcohol advertising on public transport, bus stops or stations will also be prohibited.

Under the Public Health Alcohol Bill, which passed through the Dáil last year, alcohol advertising in a cinema will also be banned from next week, except around films with an 18 classification or in a licensed premises in a cinema.

Promoting alcohol on children’s clothing will also be banned. 

On the same date next year, further restrictions under the Act will kick in. These include the confinement of alcohol product advertising in mixed retail outlets. 

It dictates that an area with alcohol products must be separated by a one to two metre high barrier (depending on how many units are on display), and in addition alcohol products cannot be visible in a unit behind the counter.

On 12 November 2021, further restrictions will be introduced which will have a big impact on sports advertising. 

As of this date, a ban on alcohol advertising on a sports area during a sporting event, at events aimed at children or at events in which the majority of participants or competitors are children will be brought in.

Alcohol sponsorship of events aimed at children, events which the majority of participants or competitors are children and events involving driving or racing motor vehicles will also be prohibited.

shutterstock_1539163253 Alcohol advertisement on bus shelters will be no more under the new law. Source: Shutterstock/Wozzie

While in the majority of cases where a person is found guilty of an offence is liable to pay a fine to a maximum of €5000 or face imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, there are provisions for fines not exceeding €250,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years.

Those who are convicted of an offence may also be named and shamed.

The Act provides that the Environmental Health Service will establish and maintain a list of the names and addresses of the persons who have received fines or other penalties imposed by the courts. 

The law also gives the Environmental Health Service the power to publish those details.

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”.

He added:

“That’s why we have for the very first time in the history of the State 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.

“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.

“I believe these measures in the Public Health (Alcohol) Act will make a real difference to changing the culture of drinking in our country.”

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