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Policy Information

Healthy Ireland Alcohol policy

Published: 5 April 2019
From: Healthy Ireland and Department of Health

Alcohol affects your body and brain, increases many health risks and can damage your mental health. The misuse of alcohol and harmful patterns of drinking not only include negative effects on the health of those drinking too much, but also cause harm to families and society as a whole.

The Public Health Alcohol Act 2018 was signed into law on 17 October 2018. For the first time, this legislation seeks to address the negative impacts of consumption on public health grounds. It is part of a suite of measures designed to reduce alcohol consumption and limit the damage to the nation’s health, society and economy.

The primary policy objectives of the Public Health (Alcohol) Act 2018 are to:

  • reduce alcohol consumption to 9.1 litres of pure alcohol per person per annum by 2020
  • delay the initiation of alcohol consumption by children and young people
  • reduce the harms caused by the misuse of alcohol
  • ensure the supply and price of alcohol is regulated and controlled in order to minimise the possibility and incidence of alcohol related harm

The Act includes provisions for minimum unit pricing, structural separation, health labelling on products that contain alcohol, restrictions on the advertising and marketing of alcohol, the regulation of sports sponsorship and restrictions on certain promotional activities.

The following guidance documents have been published to help with the implementation of the legislation:

Public Health (Alcohol) Act 2018 - Section 22 Guidance September 2019

This document gives guidance on the new measures to be introduced by the legislation including details on Commencement, Separation and visibility of alcohol products and Offences and penalties.


Public Health (Alcohol) Act 2018 - Guidance for Industry July 2019

This document gives guidance on the new measures to be introduced by the legislation including guidance on: the Prohibition on advertising in certain locations, children’s clothing, advertising in cinemas, appointment of authorised officers and the powers of authorised officers.


Information about alcohol

AskAboutAlcohol.ie is a HSE website which provides information on alcohol – about how much we’re drinking, how it affects us health-wise, and how we can gain more by drinking less.

The website has been created to provide an authoritative information source on alcohol risk and offers support and guidance to anyone who wants to cut back on their drinking.

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