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“Stop Out of Control Drinking” campaign fails to back new Irish minimum price plan

Irish Independent reports that the controversial campaign 'Stop Out of Control Drinking' has declined to publicly support the Government's plans to introduce minimum unit pricing (MUP) to tackle the availability of cheap alcohol.

A spokesperson for the campaign, which is funded by drinks firm Diageo, said the campaign's board supports the general scheme of the Government's Public Health (Alcohol) Bill 2015, but would not comment when asked if the campaign specifically supported the plans to impose MUP.

The 'Stop Out of Control Drinking' initiative, which has been criticised by a host of health experts and individuals for accepting €1m in funding from Diageo and which has lost four high-profile board members in recent weeks, told the Irish Independent its "focus was not legislation per se and so has not developed detailed positions on the minutiae of the Bill".

In the UK, Diageo is a member of the Scotch Whisky Association, which has taken a case against the Scottish government's MUP plan to Europe.

Alcohol Action Ireland CEO Suzanne Costello said: "Any initiative which doesn't wholly support the Irish bill can't really be seen as worthwhile. The legislation is almost ready to go through so I don't see what relevance a conversation has in 2015 when we have legislation ready to go. We don't feel that the alcohol industry has any role in the formulation of alcohol policy." Ms Costello said further that MUP was the best and "most nuanced measure" for targeting cheap alcohol.

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