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Pioneer Submission to the Government Alcohol Advisory Group on 28th January 2008

Submission from the Pioneer Association
(28th January 2008)

A Rúnaí, a chara,

I wish to make the following submission on behalf of the PTAA in relation to outlets and opportunities of access to the consumption of alcohol. The Pioneer Association is very concerned about the following:

1. The widespread advertising of alcoholic drink on television, in sports' arenas, on public 'bill-boards', in the print media, on radio and other electronic devices is to be deplored. This very clever promotion of alcoholic drink is, in the Pioneer Association's opinion, putting heavy pressure on young people and on those with alcoholic tendencies to engage in drinking to the physical, personal and social detriment.

Therefore, the Pioneer Association recommends:

(a) Serious restriction of advertising of alcoholic drink and its total ban in association with sport;
(b) The printing of a 'health warning' on all bottles, cans and advertisements for alcoholic drink.

2. The proliferation of outlets for the sale of alcoholic-drink in off-licences, supermarkets and filling stations facilitates the over-consumption and abuse of alcohol and makes it easier for minors to have access to alcoholic drink.

Therefore, the Pioneer Association recommends:

(a) Very strict regulation and restriction of the sale of alcoholic drink outside licensed premises, i.e., public houses, hotels and clubs;
(b) The clear separation of the rooms within supermarkets and shops designated 'off-licences';
(c) The restriction of times in the day in which alcoholic drink may be sold;
(d) The indelible marking of all cans and bottles containing alcoholic drink with the name and address of the off-licence or supermarket selling the bottles and cans. (This condition has already been passed into law but not implemented.)
(e) The restriction of window displays of alcoholic drinks in the case of off-licences, supermarkets and filling stations;
(f) The outlawing of the sale of alcoholic drink at 'cut-prices' or as a 'loss-leader'.

3. There is a serious abuse of alcohol by young people through the practice of 'bushing', i.e., drinking in parks, sheds, graveyards, along river-banks, in discreet places, etc.
The consequences of this practice of uncontrolled drinking of alcohol are leading to misbehaviour, interpersonal violence, public-order offences and so forth.
Therefore, the Pioneer Association recommends:

(a) The outlawing of the consumption of alcoholic drink outside licensed premises and private homes;
(b) All local authorities be requested to monitor the practice of 'bushing' in towns and villages.

4. The public sponsorship of sports by the alcoholic drinks industry is giving the wrong message to the young and likely to identify the celebration of sport with indulgence in the consumption of alcohol.
Therefore, the Pioneer Association recommends that all public sponsorship of sports' activities be outlawed in Ireland.

5. The abuse of alcoholic drink and its negative consequences for the physical health, personal, occupational and social life of many people is an ongoing matter of concern for the Pioneer Association.

Therefore, the Pioneer Association recommends that the alcoholic drinks' industry be held accountable for the proportionate extent to which its promotion and serving of drink has been responsible for the personal and social damage caused by the abuse of drink.

I hope the above recommendations will be of use to your advising group.

Le fíor-mheas,

Micheál Mac Gréil, SJ,
Cathaoirleach an Bhoird,
Cumann Réadóirí Um Lánstaonadh.