Ireland moves to introduce the much awaited minimum unit price (MUP) laws by Christmas 2021. MUP is one of the major pillars of the Public Health (Alcohol) Act of Ireland adopted in 2018. Communities have been advocating for and waiting for the implementation of this provision for two years.

Minister of State at the Department of Health, Frank Feighan announced that the Irish Government intends to introduce MUP laws by Christmas this year.

According to the Act, the lowest price that can be charged for a gram of alcohol is 10 cents. With a standard alcoholic beverage having 10g of alcohol in it, the lowest price that could be charged for it once the law is in operation would be €1.

Ireland has been awaiting their Northern counterparts to also adopt an MUP. The idea was to simultaneously adopt the laws in the North and South to prevent cross-border alcohol trade issues. However, Mr Feighan, who is responsible for alcohol policy in Ireland, said the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed these plans. Northern Ireland’s Minister of Health had informed that they would not be bringing in MUP till at least after their elections in May 2022.

Therefore, Ireland has decided to adopt the laws before their Northern counterparts. They are encouraged by Scotland’s MUP success. Scotland borders England which does not have an alcohol floor price policy. Results from Scotland show that MUP is working effectively to eliminate cheap alcohol. Statistics from the National Records for Scotland have recorded a 10.2% decrease in alcohol-specific deaths in 2019. 

Public Health (Alcohol) Act of Ireland

The Public Health (Alcohol) Act which was adopted into law in 2018. The government has taken a stage-wise approach and is making steady progress in implementing the Act. 

Source Website: The Irish Times