Alcohol Action Ireland, the national independent advocate for reducing alcohol harm, today (Sunday 25th April) notes a media report (Sunday Independent) that the government is to introduce minimum unit pricing (MUP) on alcohol products. This measure is an important measure within the Public Health Alcohol Act, which was enacted over 900 days ago by the Oireachtas.
The wide availability of cheap, strong alcohol products across Ireland’s supermarkets, convenience stores and corner shops is a major factor in the continued harmful use of alcohol throughout the drinking population, especially amongst the heaviest drinkers.
Introducing MUP will give this cohort in particular a chance to modify their drinking patterns and reduce the presentation of acute alcohol episodes into our strained hospital emergency departments.
The Alcohol Action annual price survey demonstrates that men can obtain a weekly low risk guideline limit of alcohol (17 standard drinks) from the off-trade for as little as €7.65 and a woman (11 standard drinks) for as little as €4.95.
Alcohol Action Ireland’s, Head of Communications, Eunan McKinney, said:
We welcome this potential development, as we have campaigned for many years for this proven public measure to be introduced. Price is a crucial marketing component to stimulating alcohol demand and its exceptional affordability has driven Ireland’s continued harmful use.
There have been many ‘false-dawns’ over the last three years and while everyone’s intentions have always been well placed, to date, the concerns of the alcohol producers and retailers have ultimately been met. We hope that this time public health will be the government priority.