Maintaining Integrity in Alcohol Research in Ireland

Frank Houghton

A Commentary


Ireland is currently leading the way in alcohol control in Europe. Recent initiatives include both the introduction of curbs on alcohol advertising and minimum unit pricing (MUP), as well as the forthcoming implementation of legislation that will require combined text and graphic alcohol warning labels on alcohol packaging. In this context it is vital to maintain research integrity in relation to alcohol control initiatives in order to develop a robust evidence base. The alcohol industry has an established track record of interference in alcohol control research and policy. This commentary explores weaknesses in the integrity of the current alcohol research infrastructure in Ireland, with a particular focus on the country’s leading health research funder, the Health Research Board (HRB). Specific recommendations are made to remediate the deficits identified and develop more robust research systems.

Key Words: Research Integrity, Research Ethics, Alcohol Industry, Ireland, Health Research Board (HRB), Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), Health Policy, Safeguards, Mach 15, International Center for Alcohol Policies (ICAP)