The Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, has outlined a series of legislative proposals aimed at cracking down on alcohol abuse.

Bertie Ahern told a European Brewing Convention meeting, at the RDS in Dublin, that new legislation was being prepared by the Department of Health and Children to ban alcohol advertising on public transport and on television and radio before 10pm at night.

It would also prohibit low-cost incentives like happy hours and free bars.

Mr Ahern said that alcohol abuse had become a serious matter which the Government was firmly committed to tackling. He added that the increase in drinking among young people was of particular concern.

Mr Ahern said the Government also intended to pursue an EU proposal to put health warnings on alcohol products.

He cited recent studies which showed that alcohol was a factor in 25% of admissions to hospital emergency rooms and that alcohol was associated with up to 40% of fatal road traffic accidents.

He said that most Irish people were sensible in their enjoyment of alcohol, but the problem arose from binge drinking and drinking to get drunk.