Alcohol Bill to boost profits of retailers


Sir, – The call by members of the medical profession (Letters, July 8th) for the implementation of minimum pricing of alcohol overlooks the key flaws in the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill. The Bill transfers to the retailers of alcohol the revenues from increasing the price of alcohol. The Oireachtas Library and Research service estimated in 2015 that the measure is worth €78.3 million a year to alcohol retailers.

It is illogical to seek to reduce alcohol consumption by increasing the profits of those who sell alcohol. Climate-change scientists by contrast have not proposed that the revenues from carbon tax should be paid over to fossil-fuel industries. This indicates their more advanced understanding of social cost than shown by their medical colleagues.

The Alcohol Bill’s boost to the profits of alcohol retailers was examined by your correspondent Mark Paul (News, November 17th, 2017). I proposed then (Letters, November 21st, 2017) that the legislation be examined by the Irish Government Economic Evaluation Service (IGEES) and that the Comptroller & Auditor General should examine the loss to the Exchequer from excise tax foregone by the income transfer from the exchequer to alcohol retailers. Independent research by these eminent bodies would be a valuable contribution to a debate heretofore dominated by lobbyists. – Yours, etc,


Economics Department,

Trinity College Dublin,

Dublin 2.