Ban on alcohol ads near schools and playgrounds

Health Minister Simon Harris warned the industry will face potential €5,000 fines and six-month prison sentences under new rules

Ban on alcohol ads near schools and playgrounds

Drinks firms will be hit with hefty fines from next week if they attempt to “lure” young people into alcohol addiction by advertising their products near schools, playgrounds or on public transport.

Health Minister Simon Harris warned the industry will face potential €5,000 fines and six-month prison sentences under new rules — despite an alcohol awareness group warning the changes will fail unless wider issues around subliminal messages are also addressed.

Legislation under the Public Health (Alcohol) Act, means that from November 12, alcohol advertising will be banned at locations within 200m of schools, creches, and playgrounds and on public transport.

In addition, alcohol adverts will only be allowed for over-18s films in cinemas, while children’s clothing promoting alcohol products will also be banned.

Mr Harris said the new rules are designed as “large companies have lured our children into alcohol addiction” in the past.

However, while welcoming the measures, Alcohol Action Ireland spokesperson Eunan McKinney told the Irish Examiner the Government clampdown will only work if officials also tackle rules around subliminal messages in alcohol adverts — a situation he said has been ignored to date.

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