Statement on Budget 2022

Alcohol Action Ireland, the national independent advocate for reducing alcohol harm, notes the announcements of Budget 2022 by Ministers Donohoe and McGrath and welcome that government has not acquiesced to the pressure from alcohol producers to reduce excise duties on alcohol products, which simply would have enhanced affordability of alcohol.

Price remains a crucial factor in sustaining Ireland’s harmful use of alcohol. We regret that the Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe, did not take note of our advice and align all alcohol excise rates to a consumer price index.

As the recent OCED report ‘Preventing harmful alcohol use’ highlights the affordability of alcohol in Ireland has more than doubled in the last two decades. This is driven by two principal factors: a hyper price discounting within the retail sector (a practice that will be calmed with the commencement of minimum pricing for alcohol product from Jan 2022) and the failure of successive governments to align alcohol excise duties with that of inflation.

In this respect, the continued state support for alcohol market expansion, and extension of an excise relief to independent alcohol producers, is regrettable.

Alcohol Action welcome Minister McGrath’s indication of additional funding – €37m – to enhance public mental health services and hope that it will begin to address the chronic lack of timely services for children who require psychology interventions, many who have been impacted by the trauma of parental problem alcohol use in their lives.