Pioneer Response to HSE Recommendations

Commenting on the HSE report 'A Standard Drink in Ireland: What strength?' to provide public information on the alcohol strength of various drinks” Padraig Brady, PTAA CEO said:

“The Pioneer Total Abstinence Association (PTAA)  supports the HSE’s recommendation for drinking  guidelines to be revised and to be based on the number of grams of alcohol in a standard drink rather than on the current unit-based system.

An Irish “measure” does not correspond with the UK’s standard unit for measuring alcohol intake as Irish “measures” tend to be larger or stronger than those used in Britain. However, as Ireland has adopted the UK’s unit-based system,  many Irish drinkers may unwittingly not be adhering to the recommended weekly alcohol consumption intake based on UK units of 14  for women and 21 for men.

It is time for the government to use the findings from this latest report from the HSE to start definitively tackling the issue of inadequate and unclear labelling on alcohol products. The development of accurate labelling has been a key issue for the Irish food industry. The Irish drinks industry needs to follow the food sector’s example as a priority. 

The report supports the Pioneers’ call for all alcohol products to carry suitable health warnings similar to those featured on cigarette packaging.  

At the very least Irish consumers need an alcohol measuring and labelling system that they can trust and in which they can have confidence. The more informed consumers can become about their actual alcohol intake then the better placed they are to make responsible choices about their drinking.  

The Pioneers supports the report’s recommendation for the drafting of low-risk drinking guidelines for Irish consumers. This recommendation fits with the Pioneer policy of not being anti-alcohol but rather inviting people to drink alcohol in moderation, should they choose to drink alcohol.”


7 September 2009