Ireland is among the first countries in the world to introduce a minimum unit pricing on retail alcohol sales.
The Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, and the Minister for Public Health, Well Being and the National Drugs Strategy, Frank Feighan, welcomed the measure, which came into effect on January 4th, 2022.
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.
According to a statement from government, this 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.
According to government, its purpose is to
- Reduce the harms the misuse of alcohol causes;
- Delay the initiation of alcohol consumption by children and young people.
In a statement, Minister Donnelly said:
“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.”
Reduce alcohol intake levels
Continuing, 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.”