New law 'will see Christmas Guinness ad being banned'
Farmers who till the barley for beer or grow apples for cider will no longer be allowed to feature in fields of grain or an orchard to promote alcohol once new laws are in place.
The claim was made by the Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland, the drinks industry group, which also forecasts the Guinness Christmas ad about the "home of the black stuff" will be banned.
It stepped up its opposition yesterday to the Public (Health) Alcohol Bill, which aims to curb the abuse of drink through a range of measures including restrictions on how it is promoted and portrayed.
Appealing to the agriculture sector, Patricia Callan, the organisation's director, said: "The very farmers who supply the industry will be banned from ads."
The bill, which was due to come before the Seanad next week, has been delayed again and is now set to return the following week.
Government backbenchers and senators will be briefed on amendments to the bill, including the decision to drop the proposed "booze curtains" in smaller shops, which would have hidden alcohol from customers' view.
Doctors in the Royal College of Physicians have called for no dilution of the proposed legislation.
They say its provisions give a clear direction on reducing harm from alcohol and that it should not be watered down.