The Irish Government has been urged to ban the broadcasting of adverts for alcohol on television before the 9pm watershed, according to press reports. The suggestion has been made in the light of a study showing that alcohol consumption among young people in Ireland is the highest in the EU.

The Eurostat study shows that half of Irish women in the 15-24 age group drink regularly, which is 10 times more than Italian women in the same age group.

The Irish Times reported yesterday that the president of the Irish Medical Organisation and member of the Government's Strategic Taskforce on Alcohol, Dr Joe Barry, has suggested a ban on TV adverts of alcohol products before 9pm. Dr Barry told the newspaper that this ban was "something the Department of Health is not prepared to do at the moment for some reason."

The newspaper also reported that, while the Minister for Health may consider banning such adverts during programmes watched primarily by young people, an outright pre-9pm ban will not be introduced.