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The Language of Lobbying:
A Critical Discourse Analysis of
Ireland's Public Health (Alcohol) Bill Debate
Ciara Gilmartin, Dr. Helen McAvoy, Dr. Olivia Freeman,
Dr. Patrick Kenny, Dr. John Hogan
APN _CiaraGilmartin.pdf
Background
Ireland has one of the highest levels of alcohol consumption in Europe (WHO, 2019).
Per Capita Alcohol Consumption in Ireland, Europe and the World in 2016. Data from WHO (2018) and O’Dwyer C, Mongan D, Doyle A and Galvin B (2021).
4
• Many Irish people also engage in Heavy
Episodic Drinking (HED)
• 75% of alcohol consumed by
means of HED
• High levels of consumption in children
and young adults
(Long & Mongan, 2014; Gavin et al., 2015)
Alcohol is deeply embedded in many aspects of Irish cultural and
social life and is responsible for many harms such as increased risks
of:
cancer
cardio-vascular disease
mental health challenges
(Tembo, Burns, & Kalembo, 2017) (LoConte, Brewster, Kaur, Merrill, & Alberg, 2018) (Whitman et al., 2017)
Cost of alcohol harms:
• Alcohol related-illness cost the healthcare system €793 million
• Alcohol-related crime cost €686 million
• Alcohol related road traffic accidents cost around €258 million
(Department of Health, 2015)
• The estimated cost of lost economic output due to alcohol was €641 million
€2.35 billion
The Alcohol Industry in Ireland
The alcohol industry is a powerful group
Significant contribution to the Irish economy
Guinness
• set up in 1756 as a small Dublin brewery
• employment
• revenue
• tourism
Image 2. Photograph of Guinness branded Leyland Road Tanker 1951. Source:
http://guinness-web.adlibhosting.com/Details/archive/110014086
Image 3. Photograph of Guinness Storehouse, Dublin. Source:
https://dorset.ie/dorset-students-visited-guinness-storehouse/
€2 billion
63,000 people
Guinness storehouse
The Public Health (Alcohol) Bill
was introduced in 2015.
Measures approved included:
minimum unit pricing
structural separation
advertising and marketing restrictions
health warning labels
This Bill was the subject of intense lobbying,
and took over 1,000 days to pass
2015 – 2018
• to develop an in-depth understanding of the arguments used by lobbyists who engaged
in lobbying activities; in an effort to shape, support or oppose the Public Health
(Alcohol) Bill.
• to elucidate the political challenges of passing public health legislation and
provide insights for jurisdictions that wish to follow Ireland’s lead in this area.
Aims
Method
Theoretical Approach
This study takes a qualitative and inductive approach to theory development (Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill,
2019).
Critical Discourse Analysis
Prior studies, examining the political debates and lobbying initiatives surrounding public health legislation,
have tended to use content or thematic analysis, with few exceptions (e.g. Calnan et al (2018)).
Critical discourse analysis (CDA) provides extra layers of insight into the power of language to persuade
and shape debates in political contexts.
Method
This analysis draws on the methods of Fairclough, who uses a textually orientedapproach.
Fairclough (2010) provides a ‘three-dimensional method’ for conducting CDA (p. 132).
Text
Process where text is produced, distributed,
consumed
The social conditions that govern these
processes
1. Textual analysis (description)
2. Discursive analysis (interpretation)
3. Critical social analysis (explanation)
Method
Process where text is produced, distributed,
consumed
1. Textual analysis
(description)
2. Discursive analysis
(interpretation)
3. Critical social analysis
(explanation)
Data
Data
Lobbying submissions received by Government
Departments relating to the Public Health
(Alcohol) Bill in 2017 and 2018
Data
Lobbying correspondence received by Government Departments relating to the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill, 2017-2018.
Government Department No. records
received
Agriculture, Food & the Marine 7
Business, Enterprise & Innovation 2
Children & Youth Affairs 7
Communications, Climate Action & the Environment 1
Culture, Heritage & the Gaeltacht 1
Finance 5
Foreign Affairs & Trade 1
Health 130
Justice 5
Rural & Community Development 1
Tourism, Transport & Sport 3
All departments 163
Analysis
Analysis
Stage One: Descriptive Analysis
• Unmotivated looking (Sacks, 1984)
• Basic description of each text
• Preliminary system of codes
Analysis
Stage One:
Descriptive Analysis
Analysis
Stage Two: Discursive Analysis
Support Criticise
Economics
Economically
beneficial
Cost
Barrier
Stigma
“The introduction of the Bill will also bring
significant benefits to the State in terms of
increased revenue as the introduction of minimum
unit pricing will lead to higher prices and, as a
consequence, enhanced VAT receipts”
“The cost of excessive alcohol consumption is a major
drain on current public expenditure: Health, Justice,
Social Protection; it is estimated that for €100m of
public monies spent, €4.6m will be deployed to
mitigate the harmful outcomes of alcohol consumption”
Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) to dept. Health, and Bernard Durkan TD (forwarded to dept. Health), 2017
Alcohol Action Ireland to dept. Health, 2018
Findings
Economically Beneficial
Support
“the implementation of this Bill would cost Irish media companies
€20m per annum. This would cost jobs and undermine the ability of Irish
media organisations to deliver high quality media content”
“[the Bill] would cost a lot of Irish jobs”
“the cost of redesigning a suite of labelling for a single product line
is approximately €50,000”
“develop a proposal that delivers on health
warning requirements in a cost-effective
manner”
Institute of Advertising Practitioners in Ireland (IAPI) to dept. Agriculture, Environment and Health, 2017
MACE operator to dept. Health, 2017
Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland (ABFI) to Bernard Durkan TD (forwarded to dept. Health), 2018
Retail Ireland to dept. Enterprise, Transport, Children, Health and Bernard Durkan TD (forwarded to dept. Health), 2018
Findings
Cost
Criticise
“[a mandatory cancer warning] would be disproportionate, create a barrier to trade, and
ultimately would not tackle misuse effectively”.
[the Bill] places indigenous alcohol producers in a deleterious position in relation to its overseas' competitors: a
hostile domestic environment will inhibit innovation within the Irish alcohol sector and hamper the development
of a sound business and its ability to generate employment and revenues for the exchequer
Diageo to dept. Taoiseach, forwarded to dept. Health, 2018
Cider Ireland to dept. Health, 2017
Findings
Barrier
Criticise
Findings
Barrier
Criticise
The Government claims that it supports small business - such as the new whiskey distilleries - yet this
draconian legislation will make it impossible for small producers and new entrants to establish and
promote their products in Ireland, and will do nothing to tackle alcohol misuse
“the proposal to mandate cancer warnings will jeopardise the international reputation of Irish whiskey as a
high value, quality product”
“The introduction of cancer labels will severely damage the brand and reputation of drinks
produced in Ireland”
“[cancer labels would apply] a stigma to products produced in Ireland and gives a clear advantage to competitors
abroad, who are not required to carry such labels”
“[labelling] will stigmatise Irish products above other products, there will be considerable costs to business
and it will create barriers to trade for products being imported into the country”
Pernod Ricard to dept. Taoiseach, forwarded to dept. Health, 2018
Heineken submission to dept. Health, 2018
Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland IBEC to dept. Agriculture and Bernard Durkan T.D. forwarded to dept. Health, 2018
Vintners' Federation of Ireland to dept. Children, Enterprise, Environment, Health, Justice, PER, RCD, Transport and Bernard Durkan T.D. forwarded to dept. Health, 2018
Findings
Stigma
Criticise
Findings
Stigma
Criticise
a time bomb that would destroy our reputation for quality food & drinks brands as all
processed meats, red meats, some dairy & processed fish come under IARC 1 & 2A
classification, the same as alcohol & de-facto would need to have the same warning labels
The Shed Distillery to Bernard Durkan T.D., forwarded to dept. Health, 2018
Conclusion
This paper, which is part of a larger study, provides an initial analysis of lobbying submissions
surround Ireland’s Public Health (Alcohol) Bill.
Further analysis will examine the political and social contexts surrounding the submissions, providing
further interpretation and possible explanations.
The ‘economically beneficial’ thread works to frame the Bill as a force for State savings.
A ‘cost’ thread works to criticise the economic costs the Bill would impose, constructing
the Bill as an economic burden.
A ‘barrier’ thread functions to position the Bill as a barrier to trade.
The ‘stigma’ thread works to position the Bill as reputationally damaging.
It outlined part of an Economics-based discourse & threads (sub-discourses).
Bibliography
WHO. (2018). Global status report on alcohol and health 2018 (978-92-4-156563-9). Retrieved from https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789241565639
Mongan, D., & Long, J. (2016). Overview of alcohol consumption, alcohol-related harm and alcohol policy in Ireland.
McGee, H. (2017). Inside Ireland’s powerful lobbying industry. The Irish Times. Retrieved from https://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/inside-
ireland-s-powerful-lobbying-industry-1.3240201
O'Halloran, M. (2017). Alcohol industry operating like ‘big tobacco’ to stall legislation. The Irish Times. Retrieved from
https://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/alcohol-industry-operating-like-big-tobacco-to-stall-legislation-1.3148828
The Irish Times. (2018). The Irish Times view on the alcohol Bill: drinks lobby pulls out all the stops. Retrieved from
https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/editorial/the-irish-times-view-on-the-alcohol-bill-drinks-lobby-pulls-out-all-the-stops-1.3642455
Saunders, M. N. K., Lewis, P., & Thornhill, A. (2019). Research Methods for Business Students (8th ed.). Harlow, England: Pearson.
Calnan, S., Davoren, M. P., Perry, I. J., & O’Donovan, O. (2018). Ireland’s Public Health (Alcohol) Bill: A Critical Discourse Analysis of Industry
and Public Health Perspectives on the Bill. Contemporary Drug Problems, 45(2), 107-126. doi:10.1177/0091450918768284
Fairclough, N. (2010). Critical Discourse Analysis: The Critical Study of Language (2nd ed.). New York: Routledge.
O’Dwyer, C., Mongan, D., Doyle, A., & Galvin, B. (2021). Alcohol consumption, alcohol-related harm and alcohol policy in Ireland. Retrieved from Dublin:
https://www.drugsandalcohol.ie/33909
Department of Health. (2015). Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) Public Health (Alcohol) Bill. Retrieved from
https://assets.gov.ie/19454/b1990c163eaf454f9f674355eaf4d504.pdf
Tembo, C., Burns, S., & Kalembo, F. (2017). The association between levels of alcohol consumption and mental health problems and academic performance
among young university students. PLoS One, 12(6), e0178142. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0178142
LoConte, N. K., Brewster, A. M., Kaur, J. S., Merrill, J. K., & Alberg, A. J. (2018). Alcohol and Cancer: A Statement of the American Society of Clinical
Oncology. J Clin Oncol, 36(1), 83-93. doi:10.1200/jco.2017.76.1155
Whitman, I. R., Agarwal, V., Nah, G., Dukes, J. W., Vittinghoff, E., Dewland, T. A., & Marcus, G. M. (2017). Alcohol Abuse and Cardiac Disease. Journal of the
American College of Cardiology, 69(1), 13-24. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2016.10.048
Murphy, B. (2003). Pure Genius: Guinness Consumption and Irish Identity. New Hibernia Review. doi:10.1353/nhr.2004.0007
Thank you
Any questions?
Email : ciaragilmartin@publichealth.ie
Web: www.publichealth.ie
CiaraRuth_

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APN _CiaraGilmartin.pdf

  • 1. The Language of Lobbying: A Critical Discourse Analysis of Ireland's Public Health (Alcohol) Bill Debate Ciara Gilmartin, Dr. Helen McAvoy, Dr. Olivia Freeman, Dr. Patrick Kenny, Dr. John Hogan
  • 4. Ireland has one of the highest levels of alcohol consumption in Europe (WHO, 2019). Per Capita Alcohol Consumption in Ireland, Europe and the World in 2016. Data from WHO (2018) and O’Dwyer C, Mongan D, Doyle A and Galvin B (2021).
  • 5. 4 • Many Irish people also engage in Heavy Episodic Drinking (HED) • 75% of alcohol consumed by means of HED • High levels of consumption in children and young adults (Long & Mongan, 2014; Gavin et al., 2015)
  • 6. Alcohol is deeply embedded in many aspects of Irish cultural and social life and is responsible for many harms such as increased risks of: cancer cardio-vascular disease mental health challenges (Tembo, Burns, & Kalembo, 2017) (LoConte, Brewster, Kaur, Merrill, & Alberg, 2018) (Whitman et al., 2017)
  • 7. Cost of alcohol harms: • Alcohol related-illness cost the healthcare system €793 million • Alcohol-related crime cost €686 million • Alcohol related road traffic accidents cost around €258 million (Department of Health, 2015) • The estimated cost of lost economic output due to alcohol was €641 million €2.35 billion
  • 8. The Alcohol Industry in Ireland The alcohol industry is a powerful group Significant contribution to the Irish economy Guinness • set up in 1756 as a small Dublin brewery • employment • revenue • tourism Image 2. Photograph of Guinness branded Leyland Road Tanker 1951. Source: http://guinness-web.adlibhosting.com/Details/archive/110014086 Image 3. Photograph of Guinness Storehouse, Dublin. Source: https://dorset.ie/dorset-students-visited-guinness-storehouse/ €2 billion 63,000 people Guinness storehouse
  • 9. The Public Health (Alcohol) Bill was introduced in 2015. Measures approved included: minimum unit pricing structural separation advertising and marketing restrictions health warning labels
  • 10. This Bill was the subject of intense lobbying, and took over 1,000 days to pass 2015 – 2018
  • 11. • to develop an in-depth understanding of the arguments used by lobbyists who engaged in lobbying activities; in an effort to shape, support or oppose the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill. • to elucidate the political challenges of passing public health legislation and provide insights for jurisdictions that wish to follow Ireland’s lead in this area. Aims
  • 13. Theoretical Approach This study takes a qualitative and inductive approach to theory development (Saunders, Lewis, & Thornhill, 2019). Critical Discourse Analysis Prior studies, examining the political debates and lobbying initiatives surrounding public health legislation, have tended to use content or thematic analysis, with few exceptions (e.g. Calnan et al (2018)). Critical discourse analysis (CDA) provides extra layers of insight into the power of language to persuade and shape debates in political contexts.
  • 14. Method This analysis draws on the methods of Fairclough, who uses a textually orientedapproach. Fairclough (2010) provides a ‘three-dimensional method’ for conducting CDA (p. 132). Text Process where text is produced, distributed, consumed The social conditions that govern these processes 1. Textual analysis (description) 2. Discursive analysis (interpretation) 3. Critical social analysis (explanation)
  • 15. Method Process where text is produced, distributed, consumed 1. Textual analysis (description) 2. Discursive analysis (interpretation) 3. Critical social analysis (explanation)
  • 16. Data
  • 17. Data Lobbying submissions received by Government Departments relating to the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill in 2017 and 2018
  • 18. Data Lobbying correspondence received by Government Departments relating to the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill, 2017-2018. Government Department No. records received Agriculture, Food & the Marine 7 Business, Enterprise & Innovation 2 Children & Youth Affairs 7 Communications, Climate Action & the Environment 1 Culture, Heritage & the Gaeltacht 1 Finance 5 Foreign Affairs & Trade 1 Health 130 Justice 5 Rural & Community Development 1 Tourism, Transport & Sport 3 All departments 163
  • 20. Analysis Stage One: Descriptive Analysis • Unmotivated looking (Sacks, 1984) • Basic description of each text • Preliminary system of codes
  • 24. “The introduction of the Bill will also bring significant benefits to the State in terms of increased revenue as the introduction of minimum unit pricing will lead to higher prices and, as a consequence, enhanced VAT receipts” “The cost of excessive alcohol consumption is a major drain on current public expenditure: Health, Justice, Social Protection; it is estimated that for €100m of public monies spent, €4.6m will be deployed to mitigate the harmful outcomes of alcohol consumption” Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) to dept. Health, and Bernard Durkan TD (forwarded to dept. Health), 2017 Alcohol Action Ireland to dept. Health, 2018 Findings Economically Beneficial Support
  • 25. “the implementation of this Bill would cost Irish media companies €20m per annum. This would cost jobs and undermine the ability of Irish media organisations to deliver high quality media content” “[the Bill] would cost a lot of Irish jobs” “the cost of redesigning a suite of labelling for a single product line is approximately €50,000” “develop a proposal that delivers on health warning requirements in a cost-effective manner” Institute of Advertising Practitioners in Ireland (IAPI) to dept. Agriculture, Environment and Health, 2017 MACE operator to dept. Health, 2017 Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland (ABFI) to Bernard Durkan TD (forwarded to dept. Health), 2018 Retail Ireland to dept. Enterprise, Transport, Children, Health and Bernard Durkan TD (forwarded to dept. Health), 2018 Findings Cost Criticise
  • 26. “[a mandatory cancer warning] would be disproportionate, create a barrier to trade, and ultimately would not tackle misuse effectively”. [the Bill] places indigenous alcohol producers in a deleterious position in relation to its overseas' competitors: a hostile domestic environment will inhibit innovation within the Irish alcohol sector and hamper the development of a sound business and its ability to generate employment and revenues for the exchequer Diageo to dept. Taoiseach, forwarded to dept. Health, 2018 Cider Ireland to dept. Health, 2017 Findings Barrier Criticise
  • 27. Findings Barrier Criticise The Government claims that it supports small business - such as the new whiskey distilleries - yet this draconian legislation will make it impossible for small producers and new entrants to establish and promote their products in Ireland, and will do nothing to tackle alcohol misuse
  • 28. “the proposal to mandate cancer warnings will jeopardise the international reputation of Irish whiskey as a high value, quality product” “The introduction of cancer labels will severely damage the brand and reputation of drinks produced in Ireland” “[cancer labels would apply] a stigma to products produced in Ireland and gives a clear advantage to competitors abroad, who are not required to carry such labels” “[labelling] will stigmatise Irish products above other products, there will be considerable costs to business and it will create barriers to trade for products being imported into the country” Pernod Ricard to dept. Taoiseach, forwarded to dept. Health, 2018 Heineken submission to dept. Health, 2018 Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland IBEC to dept. Agriculture and Bernard Durkan T.D. forwarded to dept. Health, 2018 Vintners' Federation of Ireland to dept. Children, Enterprise, Environment, Health, Justice, PER, RCD, Transport and Bernard Durkan T.D. forwarded to dept. Health, 2018 Findings Stigma Criticise
  • 29. Findings Stigma Criticise a time bomb that would destroy our reputation for quality food & drinks brands as all processed meats, red meats, some dairy & processed fish come under IARC 1 & 2A classification, the same as alcohol & de-facto would need to have the same warning labels The Shed Distillery to Bernard Durkan T.D., forwarded to dept. Health, 2018
  • 30. Conclusion This paper, which is part of a larger study, provides an initial analysis of lobbying submissions surround Ireland’s Public Health (Alcohol) Bill. Further analysis will examine the political and social contexts surrounding the submissions, providing further interpretation and possible explanations. The ‘economically beneficial’ thread works to frame the Bill as a force for State savings. A ‘cost’ thread works to criticise the economic costs the Bill would impose, constructing the Bill as an economic burden. A ‘barrier’ thread functions to position the Bill as a barrier to trade. The ‘stigma’ thread works to position the Bill as reputationally damaging. It outlined part of an Economics-based discourse & threads (sub-discourses).
  • 31. Bibliography WHO. (2018). Global status report on alcohol and health 2018 (978-92-4-156563-9). Retrieved from https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789241565639 Mongan, D., & Long, J. (2016). Overview of alcohol consumption, alcohol-related harm and alcohol policy in Ireland. McGee, H. (2017). Inside Ireland’s powerful lobbying industry. The Irish Times. Retrieved from https://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/inside- ireland-s-powerful-lobbying-industry-1.3240201 O'Halloran, M. (2017). Alcohol industry operating like ‘big tobacco’ to stall legislation. The Irish Times. Retrieved from https://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/alcohol-industry-operating-like-big-tobacco-to-stall-legislation-1.3148828 The Irish Times. (2018). The Irish Times view on the alcohol Bill: drinks lobby pulls out all the stops. Retrieved from https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/editorial/the-irish-times-view-on-the-alcohol-bill-drinks-lobby-pulls-out-all-the-stops-1.3642455 Saunders, M. N. K., Lewis, P., & Thornhill, A. (2019). Research Methods for Business Students (8th ed.). Harlow, England: Pearson. Calnan, S., Davoren, M. P., Perry, I. J., & O’Donovan, O. (2018). Ireland’s Public Health (Alcohol) Bill: A Critical Discourse Analysis of Industry and Public Health Perspectives on the Bill. Contemporary Drug Problems, 45(2), 107-126. doi:10.1177/0091450918768284 Fairclough, N. (2010). Critical Discourse Analysis: The Critical Study of Language (2nd ed.). New York: Routledge. O’Dwyer, C., Mongan, D., Doyle, A., & Galvin, B. (2021). Alcohol consumption, alcohol-related harm and alcohol policy in Ireland. Retrieved from Dublin: https://www.drugsandalcohol.ie/33909 Department of Health. (2015). Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) Public Health (Alcohol) Bill. Retrieved from https://assets.gov.ie/19454/b1990c163eaf454f9f674355eaf4d504.pdf Tembo, C., Burns, S., & Kalembo, F. (2017). The association between levels of alcohol consumption and mental health problems and academic performance among young university students. PLoS One, 12(6), e0178142. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0178142 LoConte, N. K., Brewster, A. M., Kaur, J. S., Merrill, J. K., & Alberg, A. J. (2018). Alcohol and Cancer: A Statement of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. J Clin Oncol, 36(1), 83-93. doi:10.1200/jco.2017.76.1155 Whitman, I. R., Agarwal, V., Nah, G., Dukes, J. W., Vittinghoff, E., Dewland, T. A., & Marcus, G. M. (2017). Alcohol Abuse and Cardiac Disease. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 69(1), 13-24. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2016.10.048 Murphy, B. (2003). Pure Genius: Guinness Consumption and Irish Identity. New Hibernia Review. doi:10.1353/nhr.2004.0007
  • 32. Thank you Any questions? Email : ciaragilmartin@publichealth.ie Web: www.publichealth.ie CiaraRuth_