Alcohol Action Ireland, the national independent advocate for reducing alcohol harm, welcomes the government decision today (Tues 4th May) to commence Section 11 of the Public Health (Alcohol) Act, 2018.
The commencement of minimum unit pricing as a public health measure will make a significant contribution to the public policy objective of reducing alcohol harm in Ireland and lowering alcohol use to a 2013 target of 9.1 litres per capita.
Minister Donnelly and Minister of State Feighan are to be commended for their perseverance and commitment to reducing alcohol related harms.
The 2018 legislation ambitiously seeks to recalibrate Ireland’s engagement with alcohol and improve the poor public health outcomes attributable. Critically, it endeavours to address the central dynamics that drive alcohol demand: placement, product, promotion and price.
By commencing Section 11, the government, and the Minister for Health, will now have commenced two of the four central provisions, with important measures on product Labelling and Content of advertisements yet to be notified.
The public health policy objectives can only be expected to achieve their purpose when all the measures (five sections remain outstanding) are coherently operational, and the spirit of the alcohol controls and regulations established are adhered with by producers and retailers.