The Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly TD and the Minister for Public Health, Well Being and the National Drugs Strategy, Frank Feighan TD today welcomed minimum unit pricing on retail alcohol sales coming into force.
Ireland is now one of only a small number of countries in the world to introduce minimum pricing. Scotland was the first in Europe to introduce it in 2018 followed by Wales in 2020. Other countries and territories which already have a legal minimum price include the Russian Federation and regions in Australia and Canada.
A minimum unit price of 10c per gram of alcohol is provided for in section 11 of the Public Health (Alcohol) Act 2018. Minimum unit pricing will set a floor price beneath which alcohol cannot legally be sold and will target products that are cheap relative to their strength. The minimum price is determined by and is directly proportionate to the amount of pure alcohol in the drink.
Section 11 of the Public Health (Alcohol) Act on Minimum Unit Pricing is a major provision of the Act which is designed to reduce the harms caused by the misuse of alcohol and to delay the initiation of alcohol consumption by children and young people.
Minister Donnelly said:
"Today Ireland joins a small number of countries in the world to introduce minimum pricing. This measure is designed to reduce serious illness and death from alcohol consumption and to reduce the pressure on our health services from alcohol related conditions. It worked in Scotland and I look forward to it working here."
Minister Feighan said:
"We are taking this action to ensure that cheap strong alcohol is not available to children and young people at 'pocket money' prices and to help those who drink to harmful levels to reduce their intake. I am proud that Ireland is among the first countries in the world to introduce this measure and to take real action to help those who need it the most."