A MUP of 10 cent per gram of alcohol is provided for in a major provision in section 11 of the Public Health (Alcohol) Act 2018 thus setting a floor price beneath which alcohol cannot legally be sold and which will target products that are cheap relative to their strength.
The MUP of an alcohol product is determined by – and is directly proportional to – the amount of pure alcohol in the drink, stated the Department of Health. However the legislation also allows the Minister to increase the MUP via secondary legislation.
“The Public Health (Alcohol) Act 2018 legislates for alcohol from a public health perspective,” stated the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly TD, “The Act is designed to reduce alcohol consumption, to reduce the harms caused by the misuse of alcohol and to delay the initiation of alcohol consumption by children and young people.
“Ireland had the third-highest level of adolescent binge-drinking in the world according to data from a global study published in The Lancet in March 2019 while 2018 saw an 80% increase in the number of children under 16 admitted to Irish hospitals because of alcohol intoxication: 36 children in 2018 compared to 20 such cases in 2017.
“Addressing the availability of cheap strong alcohol products will reduce the disease and death caused by the harmful use of alcohol and will ensure that cheap strong alcohol is not available to children and young people at ‘pocket money’ prices.
Minister of State with responsibility for Public Health, Well Being and the National Drugs Strategy Frank Feighan TD added, “The World Health Organisation has said that there is indisputable evidence that the price of alcohol matters. If the price of alcohol goes up, alcohol-related harm goes down.
“We know from our modelling and from the evidence from Scotland that MUP impacts the most on high-risk harmful drinkers. If we can remove cheap strong alcohol from our stores, we can reduce the burden of disease and we can put strong alcohol out of the price range of our children and young people “
Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar TD said, “As Minister for Health I introduced the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill to the Oireachtas in 2015, the first public health legislation on alcohol by any Government in the history of the State”.