A plan by Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly to put health warnings on bottles of wine, beer and spirits has been met with a mixed reaction. The new Irish law is due to apply from May 22nd 2026 in order to give businesses a three year lead-in time to prepare for the change. One of the local business owners who will have to prepare for that change is Alan MacGuinness from MacGuinness Wine Merchants on Stapleton Place. According to Alan such a move would prove detrimental to his business while inevitably resulting in a reduction of choice for his customers.
“I hope that it doesn’t happen to be honest,” stated Alan. “I buy my wine from special importers and if these warning labels come init is pretty obvious that the majority of smaller wine producers abroad will simply stop exporting to Ireland rather than have to re-label their produce for just one particular market. We will be forced to limit what we can offer people and that is unfortunate.
“Our customers in general are people who enjoy a glass of wine now and again and who want to buy something maybe a little bit more specialist than what is offered in the supermarkets. They generally are prepared to pay a little bit more for a wine that is decent. They are not drinking to get very drunk they are drinking because they enjoy to sample a good wine at the end of a working week. I really don’t think there is any need for this measure and it will unfortunately do a damage to many businesses across the country,” stated Alan.
The proposed labels of alcohol products will state the calorie content and grams of alcohol in the product. They will warn about the risk of consuming alcohol when pregnant and will also warn of the risk of liver disease and fatal cancers from alcohol consumption.
The labels will direct the consumer to the HSE website, AskAboutAlcohol.ie, for further information.
Meanwhile, the proposed new laws were welcomed by Turas Counselling Dundalk Clinical Addiction Nurse Patricia Kelly who told the Dundalk Leader that she welcomes the new legislation on health labelling for alcohol products.
“Anything that helps to reduce the health risks of consuming to much alcohol is beneficial. It will help to educate people about the risks and potential harm,” she said.
“People might become more aware of the risks relating to cancer and other health risks. It might encourage people to reduce their use.
“Other EU countries will kick back and fight the new legislation. Small breweries in Ireland will also be affected as it will increase their production costs.”
Patricia added: “I suspect that various groups will be lobbying and trying to put pressure on this going forward.
“After tobacco and excess weight, alcohol is the biggest modifiable factor in terms of the risk of developing cancer.”