Stephen Donnelly to seek minimum alcohol unit pricing approval today
The hope is the measures will reduce alcohol consumption in Ireland.
The Minister for Health is to seek approval from Cabinet today to introduce a minimum unit price for alcohol in Ireland.
Stephen Donnelly hopes to commence Section 11 of the 2018 Public Health Alcohol Act as soon as possible, a measure which would set a minimum price per gram of alcohol and ban the sale of cheaper drinks in supermarkets and shops.
According to Revenue Commissioners, alcohol consumption has remained at approximately 11 litres per person since 2015. Donnelly is due to tell Cabinet that a minimum pricing law would discourage harm to public health.
If approved, the new measures would set the price of a bottle of white wine (Chardonnay) at €7.75 and a can of beer at at least €1.32. As it stands, much cheaper alcohol is available to purchase in retailers across the country.
According to RTÉ News, Cabinet is expected to approve the measures, despite the fact that no similar law is set to be enacted in Northern Ireland.
Retailers have expressed concern that consumers will simply travel to Northern counties to avail of cheaper alcohol prices, and urged the government to wait until similar measures are introduced across the island of Ireland.
According to Drinkaware, when introduced in Scotland, similar measures saw the reduction of alcohol purchases in lower-income households by 9.5 grams per adult per week.
"It is intended that minimum unit pricing, when enacted alongside other interventions such as those in the Public Health Alcohol Act 2018, as well as comprehensive education and awareness programmes, will reduce alcohol-related harm in Ireland," they said.
"Our mission is to prevent and reduce the misuse of alcohol, and Drinkaware supports public health initiatives that will assist in achieving this important mission."
The move comes after the government banned price promotions on alcohol sales earlier this year.
January saw the the prohibition of awarding or using loyalty card points for the purchase of alcohol, as well as selling alcohol at a reduced price for a limited period. The measures also saw the physical separation of alcohol products from other products in shops.
At the time, Minister Donnelly said the bill is “further progress toward our objective of reducing harmful drinking and the health harms of alcohol consumption in our country."
More information on the implications of the bill can be found here.