Thu, 24 Jun 2021

DUBLIN, Ireland: The Republic of Ireland's cabinet is expected to move forward in creating minimum unit pricing for alcohol, despite objections from retailers.

Concerns from retailers is that customers will travel to Northern Ireland to purchase less expensive alcohol.

However, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has stated that minimum pricing for alcohol is needed as a public health measure to combat excessive drinking.

Of note, Ireland's Revenue Commissioners said alcohol consumption levels in 2020 were 10.07 litres of pure alcohol per person, down only 6.6 percent over 2019 figures, despite the closure of many pubs and restaurants during much of 2020.

Alcohol consumption has remained steady, at some 11 litres per person since 2015.

After Scotland created minimum unit pricing in 2018, alcohol consumption levels reportedly fell.

Initial reports said the Irish minimum pricing of alcohol would see a can of lager costing at least €1.32 (£1.14) and a bottle of chardonnay €7.75 (£6.70), based on 10 cents per gram of alcohol.

Drink Ireland representatives said it supports combatting excessive drinking, but added that minimum pricing must be established on both sides of the border.

Unilaterally introducing minimum pricing in the Republic of Ireland would result in "massive pressures on border businesses, and lead to an increase in illicit alcohol smuggling at the border, all at a vulnerable time for our economy," noted Drink Ireland's Patricia Callan, as quoted by BBC.

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