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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Alcohol industry accused of bullying governments

Experts on alcohol consumption have accused the government of giving in to ‘corporate bullying’ by the alcohol industry. Speaking last week during Mayo Drug and Alcohol Awareness Week, Professor Joe Barry and Dr Ann Hope argued that the government has allowed the industry to self regulate and has failed to curb alcohol advertising. The two experts, both of Trinity College, spoke at ‘Sláinte’, a seminar that explored the relationship between Irish culture and alcohol. During the seminar, which was held in Hotel Ballina, they both spoke of alcohol lobby groups’ power to shape policy on the issue.

A former National Alcohol Policy Advisor, Dr Ann Hope helped produce a 1996 report that predicted that alcohol consumption was set to increase in the Irish population over the next ten years, in line with projected economic growth.

She told the seminar that instead of implementing policy to counteract this projected increase in alcohol consumption, various governments ignored it. Worse, responding to increased lobbying from the alcohol industry, policy increased the availability of alcohol and led to increased consumption.
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