Health campaigners have rejected claims from the Irish Beverage Council, that a sugar tax will not work.
The group representing makers of soft drinks has said introducing the tax would cost the average Irish household an extra €60 a year.
Drinks-makers also say that sugar taxes in other countries haven't reduced consumption in the long term.
Cliona Loughnane of the Irish Heart Foundation has said that is simply not the case: “Mexico put a one paso on a can of fizzy drink, that was about a 10% price increase, and over the first year of implementation, 2014, it led to a reduction in consumption of 6%.
“In France we saw a 5% price increase from 2012 and it led to just under a 3% reduction.”
The Irish Heart Foundation have released the following statement:
Responding to the Irish Beverage Council’s statement issued today that a tax on sugar sweetened drinks is ‘all cost and no benefit’, the Irish Heart Foundation has said it is unsurprised but disappointed at industry’s failure to be part of the solution against Ireland’s obesity epidemic by supporting this vital public health measure.
In fact the Foundation says the IBC is going to be the ‘odd man out’ not in favour of a levy on sugar sweetened drinks which has the backing of the Irish public and which is contained in the programme for government.
Cliona Loughnane, policy and research manager with the Irish Heart Foundation said: “We are not surprised by the views expressed by the Irish Beverage Council but it continues to be disappointing to hear when we are facing significant obesity and food poverty problems among our children that are not going to go away if we continue to rely on voluntary codes adopted by industry.
“Right now we live in a country where obesity among children aged 8-12 years old has risen two-to-four fold since 1990 and it has to stop. Sugar sweetened drinks are the most consumed beverage in Ireland. These drinks, with no nutritional value, are being consumed by 53% of four-year-olds and 75% of 5 to 18 year olds.
“At the Irish Heart Foundation, we believe society has a duty of care to its children and introducing a levy on SSDs is a significant public health measure the Irish government must take. In Mexico, a one-peso tax was introduced in 2014 which led to a 10% price increase and reduced consumption by 6% by the end of the year.
“Not only will such a levy drive a reduction in consumption of these high sugar products, it will also provide funding for vital health and nutrition programmes specifically targeting children and young people through a dedicated Children’s Future Health Fund.”