Minimum unit alcohol pricing takes effect countrywide

‘This measure is designed to reduce serious illness and death from alcohol,’ says Minister

The legislation means an average bottle of wine cannot be sold for under €7.40. File photograph: Getty

The legislation means an average bottle of wine cannot be sold for under €7.40. File photograph: Getty

 

Minimum unit alcohol pricing comes into effect in the Republic from Tuesday.

The controversial measure means the State becomes one of only a small number of countries worldwide to introduce a legal floor price for the cost of alcoholic drinks.

The move is expected to have more of an impact on alcohol sold in supermarkets and off-licences than pubs, restaurants and nightclubs. It will mean an average bottle of wine cannot be sold for under €7.40, while a can of beer will cost at least €1.70 .

Spirits will increase most in price, with vodka and gin set to cost a minimum of €20.70, while whiskey will rise to at least €22.

“This measure is designed to reduce serious illness and death from alcohol consumption and to reduce the pressure on our health services from alcohol-related conditions. It worked in Scotland and I look forward to it working here,” said Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly.

The Republic is now one of only a small number of countries globally to introduce minimum pricing. Scotland was the first in Europe to introduce it in 2018 followed by Wales in 2020. Other countries and territories which already have a legal minimum price include the Russian Federation and regions in Australia and Canada.

Targeting products

A minimum unit price of 10 cent per gram of alcohol is provided for in section 11 of the Public Health (Alcohol) Act 2018. Minimum unit pricing means a point beneath which alcohol cannot legally be sold and will target products that are cheap relative to their strength.

The minimum price is determined by, and is directly proportionate to, the amount of pure alcohol in the drink.

Mr Donnelly’s colleague, Minister of State for Public Health Frank Feighan, welcomed minimum unit pricing on retail alcohol sales.

“We are taking this action to ensure that cheap strong alcohol is not available to children and young people at ‘pocket money’ prices and to help those who drink to harmful levels to reduce their intake.” – Additional reporting PA