The Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland has slammed a “deeply flawed and misleading” survey used by the Alcohol Health Alliance to argue for reduced advertising of alcohol.

Along with reducing affordability and availability of alcohol, reducing advertising appears to be one of the three key pillars of the AHA’s strategy.

It polled 1,300 Irish adults between June 12 and June 16 and issued a press release – picked up by the Irish Mirror, among others – saying that 82% of the public would support stronger regulation of alcohol marketing than is proposed in the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill.

Its chief executive, Frank Murray, then wrote a hard-hitting opinion piece in the Irish Times about why the survey should be taken seriously.

But the AHA did not reveal how it phrased the question, and the ABFI accused it of asking it in a way that suited its own agenda rather than sparking a balanced response.

Director Patrica Callan said: “The question posed by the survey is a deliberate attempt to provide a one-sided and misleading narrative.

“Proposed advertising restrictions, contained in the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill, will lead to a series of unintended consequences which will be hugely damaging for the Irish economy, a fact completely unaddressed in the AHA’s survey, which makes the findings deeply flawed and misleading.”

Callan said the Bill contains a series of punitive measures that would make Ireland amongst the most restrictive countries in the world in terms of marketing freedoms for alcoholic products.

“It will not only make Ireland less attractive as a business location for global players, but it will also suffocate smaller players attempting to promote their products,” she said.