Ireland on the Verge of Minimum Alcohol Pricing

Published On: December 17, 2015

The Irish Government has unveiled plans aimed to alter what it considers the countries liberal attitude towards alcohol consumption. Ireland currently experiences the highest level of alcohol consumption throughout Europe and so the new laws are widely welcomed by many, including alcohol rehab centres.

The law is set to go before the Irish parliament in January 2016. The law will mean retailers must sell alcohol for at least 10 euro cents per gram of alcohol sold. The law will also outlaw ‘cut-price’ alcohol marketing tactics. ‘Happy hours’ will also be severely restricted and alcohol firms will no longer be able to advertise near schools or on public transport infrastructure.

The laws will also restrict alcohol advertising on television. Currently, alcohol firms can advertise on Irish TV at all hours of the day. The new law seeks to restrict this to only after 9 pm.

The law will also prohibit the advertisement of alcohol at sporting events ‘aimed at children’.

Ireland’s Health Minister, Leo Varadkar, said: “Ireland needs to change its damaging attitude to alcohol. Four out of ten drinkers typically engage in binge drinking.”

Varadkar believes this new law will be the first of many that seek to address alcohol’s contribution to the Irish population’s mental and physical health problems.

The average annual alcohol consumption in Ireland is currently a massive 11 litres per person. This is the highest in Europe. Lawmakers aim to bring this figure down to 9.1 litres by 2020.

Similar legislation has hit a setback in Scotland. This is because the Scotch Whiskey Association and the powerful European alcohol lobby has claimed the law restricts trade between Scotland and the rest of Europe. It remains to be seen how the alcohol industry will react to the current developments in Ireland.

However, Ireland’s largest and most powerful business lobby, the IBEC, claims the proposed legislation is draconian on responsible drinkers and will fail to tackle alcohol abuse. Ireland’s largest alcohol firm, the C&C, has welcomed the legislation.

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