There is an Irish rebel song called God Save Ireland, which was once an unofficial national anthem of Ireland and is written to those that made great sacrifices for Ireland.  In this modern day there are new self-appointed saviors in Ireland called government officials and Ministers of Health. They have taken to government bureaucracies to make sure they can make the proper decisions for the people of Ireland, but in my mind, they are not going far enough!

In 2023 Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly signed into law labeling regulations, which require comprehensive health labeling for alcohol products. The law requires labels which put users on notice of the risk of liver disease and numerous cancer risks from drinking alcohol. The labels will be as graphic as the tobacco labels in Ireland. Tobacco labels have very graphic images of people with lung cancer and rotten and blacken teeth.

So, Minister Donnelly by putting alcohol on the same plane is doing a world first by requiring comprehensive health warning labels on alcohol products, and is the second country that will mandate cancer warning labels.

But I don’t think he is going far enough! The leading cause among males and the second leading cause among females is heart disease.[1] And the Irish breakfast which is a popular meal in Ireland is thought by some health officials to be dangerous for your health and could be a major contributor to heart disease.[2] Further, Ireland is a country where only 37% of the population is not overweight or obese.[3] Hence, why aren’t we doing enough to protect the Irish people from themselves.

So, for consistency’s sake and for the benefit of saving the populous from themselves, Health Minster Donnelly should label the Irish breakfast food packages that sausages and black pudding come in, with a label of a fat guy experiencing a grabber with a message that Irish breakfast could lead to a heart attack. Since he has decided to play parent for the Irish public to warn us about alcohol, why does he need to stop there!

I think Minister Donnelly is becoming the irresponsible parent that chooses the actions to punish and the actions towards which he turns a blind eye.

Now alcohol abuse is a serious topic among the Irish and all communities. We should have serious discussions about the consequences of alcohol abuse and educate the public. Putting labels on a package will do little to curtail the problem without proper education and discussion. The labels will lead to increased cost for producers without any evidence of a tangible societal tangible benefit. Further, for the majority of responsible Irish consumers, it will lead to less choice, as many alcohol companies will not comply with a burdensome requirement from a small market.

In concluding, the Irish minister calls for the wrong remedy to a serious problem and decides he wants to shepherd and parent the Irish people towards good health. But in his quest for paternalism, he makes inconsistent choices with little rhyme or reason!