Minimum unit pricing for alcohol to come into effect in January 2022

THE Cabinet has agreed to introduce Minimum Unit Pricing for alcohol, which will come into effect in January 2022.

According to the Department of Health minimum pricing will set a ‘floor price’ beneath which alcohol cannot legally be sold – and will target products that are cheap relative to their strength.

psGovernment Buildings Dublin

The minimum price is ‘determined by and is directly proportion to’ the amount of pure alcohol in the drink.

A minimum of 10c per gram of alcohol is provided for in section 11 of the Public Health (Alcohol) Act 2018.

The Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD, said: “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.”

According to Minister Donnelly, Ireland has the third highest level of adolescent binge drinking in the world, as per data from a global study recently published.

He added that in 2018, there was an 80 per cent increase in the number of children (under 16) admitted to Irish hospitals because of alcohol intoxication – 36 children in 2018, compared to 20 in 2017.

“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", Minister Donnelly said. 

The Government has said that it also plans to invest €1.08m to expand community-based alcohol services.

Dr Sheila Gilheany, CEO of Alcohol Action Ireland, said: “Alcohol Action Ireland are pleased that Section 11 of the Public Health (Alcohol) Act will now be commenced.

“The universal availability of cheap, strong alcohol products has contributed to Ireland's problematic alcohol use and the poor public health related outcomes.

“By commencing MUP, and establishing a floor price for alcohol, we can expect to see less alcohol being purchased by those who cause themselves, and others, the greatest harm.

“This will reduce alcohol harm and save lives.”

For further information visit Alcohol Action Ireland's website HERE

For information on alcohol consumption and guidelines, visit national charity Drinkaware's website HERE

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