Welcome for return of excise duty to 2009 levels – potential €200million plus for Exchequer

Alcohol-related harm costs State an estimated  €3.7billion a year

Alcohol Action Ireland, the national charity for alcohol-related issues, has welcomed the Government ’s decision to restore excise duties to 2009 levels.

Alcohol Action Ireland Director Fiona Ryan said:  “The Government ’s decision is a welcome one. It basically rolls excise duty back to 2009 levels when it was cut by 20% to counteract cross-border shopping generated by the Euro and Sterling being almost on a par.

 “These currency conditions no longer exist and so neither does the justification for that excise duty cut. Contrary to popular belief there have been only four excise duty increases in 18 years. There is still real concern over the widespread availability of relatively cheap alcohol particularly in the off-trade sector even with these increases as the base price is cheap.

 “To put the estimated  €200million in potential revenue from this excise duty restoration into perspective – alcohol-related harm costs the State an estimated  €3.7billion a year almost the equivalent of what we pay back to the Troika.

 “As it stands, a woman in Ireland can reach her low risk maximum weekly drinking limit for  €7 (14 UK alcohol units)  – that ’s less than an hour worked on minimum wage at  €8.65  – and a man can do it for less than  €10 (21 UK alcohol units). Even with the Excise restoration it amounts to an average  €1.50 extra a week for a woman and  €2.50 extra a week for a man, provided of course these increases are passed on by retailers to consumers.

 “Pricing is one of the most effective ways a Government can reduce alcohol consumption and the associated harms. Excise duty does not put a floor price beneath which alcohol cannot be sold which is why we would urge Government to introduce minimum pricing as part of its plan to tackle alcohol-related harm, ” said Ms Ryan.

 ·Excise duty on a pint of beer and cider has increased by 10c to 47c  – the same levels as in 2009  – while excise duty on spirits has also increased by 10c to 54c, slightly below 2009 levels (56c). Excise duty on wine has been increased by  €1 to  €2.97, which is 51c above 2009 levels ( €2.46).

 ·30 national organisations now support the call for minimum pricing  – a floor price beneath which alcohol cannot be sold. These are: Alcohol Forum, Barnardos, Citywide Drugs Crisis Campaign, Focus Ireland, Foroige, Irish Association of Social Care Workers, Irish Association of Suicidology, Mental Health Ireland, Rape Crisis Network of Ireland, Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (Faculty of Public Health Medicine), Social Care Ireland, St Patrick ’s University Hospital, St Vincent de Paul, Alzheimer Society of Ireland, Ballymun Local Drugs Task Force, the College of Psychiatry of Ireland, Clondalkin Local Drugs Task Force, the Family Support Network, 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 RISE Foundation, the Samaritans, the Swan Family Support Project, Rutland Centre and Women ’s Aid.

For further information or comment please contact Alcohol Action Ireland Communications Officer Conor Cullen on 01-8780610 or 087-7530576.