Minimum Pricing Campaign: Update

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The need for minimum pricing, a floor price beneath which alcohol cannot be sold, was underlined further last week when a well known retailer offered cider at 7p a unit in Northern Ireland and 39c a unit for wine in the Republic.


At the same time minimum pricing, a key recommendation of the National Substance Misuse Strategy, received an unexpected boost from an unlikely source. British Prime Minister David Cameron recently announced he was going to follow the Scottish example and introduce minimum pricing for England and Wales. The Scots are pushing hard to get minimum pricing legislation through the Scottish parliament while the Northern Irish ministers with responsibility in this area have vowed to introduce minimum pricing.


The big question is – when will we see legislation in the Republic of Ireland and an end to supermarket deals where a man can reach his low risk maximum weekly drinking limit for  £1.47 in Northern Ireland and €8.50 in the Republic.


  Minimum pricing has been publicly backed by Minister for Health James Reilly and Minister of State for Health Roisin Shortall and recommended by the Oireachtas Health Committee in its report. The commonly held wisdom is that the Irish Government is waiting to see how the Scottish legislation, in particular, fares against European competition law and challenges by the alcohol industry before putting forward its own legislation.


The question for anyone or organisations concerned with reducing alcohol-related harm is how do we best support the call for legislation and when that legislation happens how can we work to ensure that our voices are heard.   


Alcohol Action Ireland has been campaigning for minimum pricing over the last three years and we were delighted in the run-up to last year’s budget when the call was supported by a range of NGOs, charities, youth and medical representative groups as well as local and regionally based organisations: Barnardos, Faculty of Public Health Medicine, Foroige, Royal College of Physicians in Ireland, Focus Ireland, Rape Crisis Network Ireland, St Vincent De Paul, The Alcohol Forum, The Ballymun Local Drugs Taskforce, The Irish Association of Suicidology, The Irish Cancer Society, The Irish Heart Foundation, The Irish Medical Organisation, The ISPCC, The National Youth Council of Ireland, The No Name Club.


The challenge for those of us working for a minimum price is how we ensure we do not lost the momentum. We would encourage organisations interested in supporting minimum pricing to:


 ·                 Find out information on minimum pricing by going to or contact us directly. Contact:


 ·                 Get in touch with us and we will add their names to the list of charities, NGOs and representative organisations backing the call.


 ·                 We are also in the process of developing a short two page document explaining minimum pricing which will be available in the next two weeks on the website and in hard copy on request: