Home > Written answers - Substance misuse [53948/12, 53949/12, 53950/12 & 53951/12].

[Oireachtas] Written answers - Substance misuse [53948/12, 53949/12, 53950/12 & 53951/12]. (04 Dec 2012)

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601. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health when he plans to publish the action plan to implement the recommendations in the report of the National Substance Misuse Steering Group published on 7 February 2012; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53948/12] 

602. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health if he has considered the proposal from the National Youth Council of Ireland contained in their pre-budget submission to his Department to introduce a 1% social responsibility levy on the turnover of the drinks manufacturers which could generate a fund to replace the sponsorship of large sporting and cultural events by drinks industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53949/12]
 
603. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health the action he has taken to progress the commitment made at the conference on alcohol misuse in Armagh in January 2012 to work with the Northern Executive on the introduction of minimum pricing on an all-Ireland basis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53950/12]
 
604. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Health his plans to hold a conference, seminar or other event on alcohol misuse policy in the context of the Irish Presidency of the European Union next year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [53951/12]
 
Minister for Health (Deputy James Reilly): I propose to take Questions Nos. 601 to 604, inclusive, together.
 
The National Substance Misuse Strategy Steering Group reported in February of this year and it made a range of important recommendations in order to deal with the persistent problem of alcohol misuse in Ireland; and in this regard, it recommended that a social responsibility levy on the drinks industry and that a minimum unit price per gram of alcohol be provided for in legislation. Work on the latter regime is being progressed in conjunction with Northern Ireland; preparations are well underway to tender jointly for a health impact assessment to be carried out - a measure that would be key to underpinning any regime of minimum unit pricing given the prospects for such a policy to be challenged. As minimum unit pricing is a mechanism of imposing a statutory floor in price levels for alcohol products that must be legally observed by retailers, its primary function would be thus to discourage at risk levels of alcohol consumption. Moreover, and arising from the Armagh conference, a North South Alcohol Forum has been initiated and has already met for the purposes of developing areas of work to be elaborated.
 
The Deputy's question relating to the inclusion of alcohol on the agenda of Ireland's Presidency is indeed pertinent given that the prospect for a new European Union Strategy on Alcohol is being discussed at European Union level. Ireland is actively participating in this discussion.
 
My Department is developing concrete proposals on the basis of the recommendations of the report of the National Substance Misuse Strategy Steering Group - including the recommendations on a social responsibility levy on the drinks industry and a regime of minimum unit pricing; and these are being prepared for the purposes of submitting them to Government at the earliest opportunity for the consideration and approval of the Cabinet. While this work is continuing, the prospects for encompassing work of alcohol during the tenure of Ireland's Presidency are against the backdrop of many competing priorities on the health agenda. While, I am conscious of the need to develop proposals on the basis of the National Substance Misuse Strategy to reduce alcohol consumption in Ireland, there are no plans at this stage to organise an event on alcohol during Ireland's Presidency.
 
Dáil Éireann Debate Vol. 785 No. 1
Tuesday 4 December
Written Answers – Substance misuse
Item Type:Dail Debates
Source:Oireachtas
Date:4 December 2012
EndNote:View
Subjects:VA Geographic area > Europe > Ireland
B Substances > Alcohol
MP-MR Policy, planning, economics, work and social services > Economic policy
MP-MR Policy, planning, economics, work and social services > Economic aspects of substance use (cost / pricing)
G Health and disease > Substance use disorder > Alcohol use
MP-MR Policy, planning, economics, work and social services > Policy > Policy on substance use

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