Stephen Donnelly says its "not okay" alcohol is being sold at "pocket money prices"
He said some supermarkets are selling it "cheaper than they are selling water".
Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has said it is "not okay" and "not healthy" that alcohol is being sold at "pocket money prices" across certain Irish supermarkets.
Donnelly told reporters at the official launch of the policy in Dublin on Wednesday, that some retailers are selling liquor "cheaper than they are selling water".
The Minister also insisted minimum unit pricing for alcohol is being introduced in the country “because there is powerful evidence" it works.
“The Public Health (Alcohol) Act 2018 legislates for alcohol from a public health perspective. The Act is designed to reduce alcohol consumption, to reduce the harms caused by the misuse of alcohol, and to delay the initiation of alcohol consumption by children and young people," he said in a statement.
“Addressing the availability of cheap strong alcohol products will reduce the disease and death caused by the harmful use of alcohol and will ensure that cheap strong alcohol is not available to children and young people at 'pocket money' prices.
“We are taking this important step in prevention alongside an investment of €1.08m to expand alcohol services.
"That expansion will include the establishment of two community-based teams to provide counselling and supports to adults with problem alcohol use and to their families.”
Minimum unit pricing for alcohol in Ireland is to take effect from 1 January 2022.
The legislation introduced under Section 11 of the Public Health Alcohol Act will see an increase in the cost of "cheap alcohol", including beer, wine, and spirits.
Minimum unit pricing (MUP) is a “floor price” for which alcohol cannot legally be sold under and is based on the amount of alcohol in a product, measured in grammes.
One standard drink in Ireland contains 10 grammes of alcohol and an MUP will apply per standard drink.
The MUP will not affect the price of any alcohol sold in pubs, clubs, and restaurants in Ireland whenever they do reopen.
This is due to "alcohol in the on-trade already being sold well above the threshold for any proposed MUP."