Government needs to put words into actions on cheap alcohol

  • Post category:Newsletter
Increases in ALD are consistent with increases in alcohol consumption and harmful drinking patterns
Government says sale of cheap alcohol should be banned

The Government has an opportunity with the upcoming National Substance Misuse Strategy to put words into action and “reduce the amount of alcohol we drink in society”.

Deputy John Perry, speaking on behalf of Health Minister James Reilly, made a number of welcome points in relation to the upcoming strategy which is due out at the end of September including:

  • the need for a “population health” approach to reduce the overall levels of alcohol consumption in the population
  • the need to delay on-set of first drinking – the age of first drinking has dropped from 16 to 14 in the space of a decade

He went on to say that price, availability and marketing of alcohol are key factors in supply and that “below-cost selling of alcohol should be banned”.

Alcohol Action Ireland director Fiona Ryan said: “Deputy Perry has made welcome comments in relation to reducing alcohol consumption. His comments in relation to “below-cost selling” unfortunately only provide half the picture.

“Banning “below-cost selling”, even if feasible and agreement could be reached on what it even meant, will not take cheap alcohol at pocket money prices off shelves. If the Government is serious about doing this then it has to seriously consider the introduction of a minimum pricing initiative similar to what is being proposed in Scotland and currently undergoing consultation in Northern Ireland.”

Ms Ryan pointed out that is worth remembering that the revenue the Government makes from alcohol sales is more than off-set by the estimated €3.7 billion a year it costs the state from alcohol-related harm; €1.2 billion in the health service alone.

To read more, view Alcohol Action Ireland’s publication Alcohol in Ireland: Tackling the Financial Hangover and the case for minimum pricing