Alcohol costs to rise if minimum pricing approved by Government

The scheme could see the price of a bottle of vodka increase by up to €7
Alcohol costs to rise if minimum pricing approved by Government

The cost of alcohol will soon rise if the Government approves the implementation of minimum pricing for alcohol on Tuesday.

The Irish Examiner reports that Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly will seek approval for the scheme, which could see the price of a bottle of vodka increase by up to €7.

It is understood Mr Donnelly hopes to introduce minimum unit pricing in the coming months in order to "reduce the health harms of alcohol" by preventing the sale of strong alcohol products at very low prices.

The Public Health (Alcohol) Act specifies a minimum price per gram of alcohol of 10 cent.

Under the scheme, a 440ml can of lager will have a minimum price of €1.32, a 750ml bottle of chardonnay will have a minimum price of €7.75 and a 700ml bottle of gin or vodka will have a minimum price of €20.71.

Some supermarkets have their own-brand vodka currently priced at about €12.99, meaning a jump of over €7 to meet the minimum pricing laws.

Objections

There has been objection to the move from border county TDs from both Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, who say the scheme must be implemented on an all-island basis to work.

With no similar regime in place in Northern Ireland, there is concern that residents of the Republic will purchase alcohol and other groceries in the North, causing retailers in border towns to lose out.

Patricia Callan, director of Drinks Ireland, warned the price difference between north and south will increase from an average of 27 per cent to as high as 38 per cent.

An application of the 10 cent minimum price per gram in the Republic will affect only the cheapest of products and will not affect the price of products sold in pubs or restaurants.

At current prices, it is possible for a man to consume his weekly low-risk guideline limit of alcohol for €7.48 while a woman can consume her weekly limit for just €4.84.

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