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Government Drafts Alcohol Minimum Pricing Bill

By Publications Checkout

A Bill to cut down on the availability of cheap alcohol has been drafted by Health Minister Leo Varadkar.

The proposed Public Health (Alcohol) Bill 2015, which will place minimum pricing on alcohol per unit, received Cabinet approval. The new measures may mean a bottle of wine will be sold at no cheaper than €8.80 while a can of beer will be at least €2.20.

A price of a unit of alcohol (half a pint of beer or a glass of wine) will be set to between 90 cents and €1.10. As a result, supermarket-style offers such as 10 cans of beer for €10 will no longer be possible.

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Minister Varadkar emphasised the importance the Bill will have towards improving public health, as he expressed the problem of many Irish adults drinking too much and too often.

"This has an enormous impact on our society and economy through greater illness and higher health costs, public order and violent offences, road traffic collisions, injuries and absence from work," said the Minister.

He also said that alcohol is related to suicide, sexual and domestic violence, as well as child harm. "The time for debate is over, we have had four years of it now. It is over and we need to put those measures into place," he concluded.

Irish people drink an average of 11.6 litres of pure alcohol annually. While this is significantly lower than five years ago, the aim of the Bill is to bring average consumption down to the OECD average of 9.1 litres within five years.

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