Is Big Alcohol Attacking Irish Sovereignty?

A dimly lit empty meeting room, in which a liquor bottle sits on a wood table, with rows of chairs alongside itIn late May, Ireland made regulatory history by becoming the first country to enact stringent alcohol warning label requirements. Going well beyond the small, cramped, and oft-ignored warnings on U.S. bottles, the Irish warnings were eyecatching, comprehensive--including cancer risk--and provided a number of different labels in rotation. All of these were in accordance with the emerging global best practices around effective health education, and intended to stem the growing alcohol morbidity and mortality in the country.

Needless to say, the industry quickly moved to assert a popular, effective, evidence-based policy intended to save and extend lives could not stand. Raising objections before the June 21 meeting of the World Trade Organization, it sought to kill the Irish government's policy through the interests of other governments, including the United States.

The Consumer Federation of America moved quickly to insure U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and other leaders within the federal government understood the industry did not represent the interests or desires of the country.  They rallied a number of U.S.-based public health and safety organizations--including Alcohol Justice--to cosign a letter asserting that the industry does not speak for the country, and that the industry's interests are antithetical to the health of the nation.

Alcohol Justice, meanwhile, also submitted its own letter of objection, and stands ready to continue the push. Ireland should be admired and emulated, not harrassed through the WTO--unless we want to see every country's public health agenda rendered impotent as its citizens suffer and die.


READ MORE about the Liquor Bottle Label Battle

READ MORE about the back doors trade agreements us to entrench Big Alcohol's power