Minimum alcohol pricing will only target cheap drink in off-licences

The Public Health (Alcohol) Bill is a crucial response to one of our most significant public health problems. Alcohol misuse claims three lives every day in Ireland and we all know someone who has been affected in a harmful way by alcohol use — it is all too common.

Minimum alcohol pricing will only target cheap drink in off-licences

The Bill contains positive and critical actions to reduce alcohol harm and improve our health, safety and wellbeing. Most importantly, evidence shows that this legislation and its inclusion of three key areas — alcohol pricing, marketing and availability — can save lives. Despite this, we know the Bill will come under sustained attack from the alcohol industry.

This is because we cannot reduce alcohol harm without reducing our high levels of consumption, which the alcohol industry continuously seeks to increase. Our alcohol consumption, which increased last year, is now two litres of pure alcohol per person above the Healthy Ireland target (and OECD average) of 9.1 litres per capita and we have one of the highest rates of binge drinking in the world.

The World Health Organisation has stated that “the alcohol industry has no role in the formulation of alcohol policies”. The position of the HSE is “there is an inherent conflict associated with the alcohol industry playing a role in providing public health advice”.

The Bill contains a wide range of measures that protect Irish children and reduce harmful drinking. One of its key measures, minimum unit pricing (MUP), has already been distorted and cast as a measure that will affect all drinkers. In fact, it is a targeted measure that will affect only the strongest, cheapest drink in the off-trade, which is consumed mainly by the youngest and most harmful drinkers.

MUP will have absolutely no impact on the price of a pint, or any alcohol sold in pubs, clubs or restaurants. When introduced in Canada, it led to an immediate reduction in deaths due to alcohol, as well as reducing the burden of alcohol-related hospital admissions and alcohol-fuelled crime.

We urge everyone to support this Bill so that it can be the tipping point for major cultural change in Ireland’s harmful drinking habits.

It will be life-changing for future and present generations and reduce the harm and deaths caused by alcohol, and the suffering and grief borne by far too many Irish men, women and children.

Professor Frank Murray

President Royal College of Physicians of Ireland

Suzanne Costello

Alcohol Action Ireland

Kathleen O’Meara

Irish Cancer Society

Mary Cunningham

National Youth Council of Ireland

Barry Dempsey

Irish Heart Foundation

Grainia Long


Tanya Ward

Children’s Rights Alliance

Dr Cate Hartigan

Head of Health Promotion, HSE

Kieran Doherty

Alcohol Forum

Senator Jillian van Turnhout

Dr Mark Delargy

National Rehabilitation Hospital

Dr Shari McDaid

Mental Health Reform

Rachel Wright


Rolande Anderson

Addiction Counsellor

Dr Donal O’Shea

Consultant Endocrinologist

Dr Ray Walley

President, IMO

Dr Orla Crosbie

Consultant Hepatologist

Dr John Hillery

College of Psychiatrists of Ireland

Dr Anne Twomey

Irish Dental Association

Triona Ní Rainne

Galway Healthy Cities Alcohol Forum

Michelle Murphy

Social Justice Ireland

Dr Hugh Gallagher

Addiction Services, HSE

Cliona Saidlier

Rape Crisis Network

Jacqueline Healy

National Women’s Council of Ireland

Grainne Fleming

No Name Club

Frances Black

The Rise Foundation

Senator Lorraine Higgins

Chair OireachtasCross Party Group on Alcohol Harm

Siobhan Kelly

Irish College of Ophthalmologists

Etain Kett

Dental Health Foundation

Megan O’Leary

Family Support Network

John Bennett

Finglas/Cabra Local Drug and Alcohol Taskforce

More in this section

CourtsColumnistsPlace: IrelandPlace: CanadaPerson: Frank MurrayPerson: Suzanne CostelloPerson: Kathleen O’MearaPerson: Mary CunninghamPerson: Barry DempseyPerson: Tanya WardPerson: Cate HartiganPerson: HeadPerson: Kieran DohertyPerson: SenatorPerson: Jillian Van TurnhoutPerson: MarkPerson: Shari McDaidPerson: Rachel WrightPerson: Rolande AndersonPerson: Addiction CounsellorPerson: Donal O’SheaPerson: Ray WalleyPerson: presidentPerson: DrPerson: Orla CrosbiePerson: Anne TwomeyPerson: Triona Ní RainnePerson: Michelle MurphyPerson: Hugh GallagherPerson: Cliona SaidlierPerson: Jacqueline HealyPerson: Grainne FlemingPerson: Frances BlackPerson: Lorraine HigginsPerson: Siobhan KellyPerson: Megan O’LearyPerson: JohnOrganisation: OECDOrganisation: World Health OrganisationOrganisation: HSEOrganisation: Royal College of Physicians of IrelandOrganisation: Alcohol Action IrelandOrganisation: Irish Cancer SocietyOrganisation: National Youth Council of IrelandOrganisation: Irish Heart FoundationOrganisation: Grainia LongOrganisation: ISPCCOrganisation: Children’s Rights AllianceOrganisation: National Rehabilitation HospitalOrganisation: JohnOrganisation: Hillery College of Psychiatrists of IrelandOrganisation: Irish Dental AssociationOrganisation: Healthy Cities Alcohol ForumOrganisation: Social Justice IrelandOrganisation: Addiction ServicesOrganisation: Rape Crisis NetworkOrganisation: National Women’s Council of IrelandOrganisation: The Rise FoundationOrganisation: OireachtasCross Party GroupOrganisation: Irish College of OphthalmologistsOrganisation: Etain Kett Dental Health FoundationOrganisation: Family Support NetworkOrganisation: FinglasOrganisation: Cabra Local Drug and Alcohol Taskforce
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