He declined to say when exactly promised legislation on alcohol would be published, but did confirm that a committee on alcohol advertising and sponsorship would report by year’s end.
Mr White, who has responsibility for the Government’s alcohol strategy, was responding to the findings of a household survey conducted by the Health Research Board.
It found that more than half of Irish drinkers — almost 1.4m people — consume alcohol in a “harmful” manner. However, 98% described themselves as “light or moderate drinkers”.
The report said 75% of all alcohol consumed was taken in binge-drinking sessions.
“The results confirm that alcohol is causing significant damage across the population, in workplaces and to children in families and carries a substantial burden to all in Irish society,” Mr White told the Irish Examiner.
“The abuse of alcohol in Ireland can no longer be dismissed as a problem suffered by a minority of drinkers.”
He said policies targeting the entire population — including those not regularly in contact with the health services — are needed.