Government has comfortable majority in first budget vote
Taoiseach rejects Opposition criticism of alcohol price increase
Joe Higgins of the Socialist Partysaid he was absolutely opposed to the alcohol price increases. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times
The Government had a comfortable majority in the first budget vote in the Dail tonight when the alcohol price increases were approved by 103 votes to 53.
Responding to Opposition criticism of the increases, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said they were not an alternative strategy for dealing with problems created by alcohol, adding the issue was an issue that would require considerable discussion at Cabinet and in the Dáil.
Joe Higgins (Socialist Party) said he was absolutely opposed to the increases. “At least I suppose we should be grateful that the Taoiseach did not try to justify them on the grounds of health reasons,’’ he added. He said it was a “new grab’’ on the pockets of ordinary people.
Mr Higgins said the health issues relating to alcohol should be taken seriously and addressed by serious measures. “It is not a serious measure to land more increases that hit especially the people who drink in moderation,’’ he added. “Those are the people who have been hit very harshly by the austerity measures of the past five years.’’
Timmy Dooley (FF) said some of the multiples were using alcohol as a loss leader to attract shoppers to buy other products at a much higher margin, and it was disappointing that nothing was being done about that.