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Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written Answers 146 - Alcohol sales legislation [39378/14].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written Answers 146 - Alcohol sales legislation [39378/14]. (11 Nov 2014)

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146.Deputy Dara Callearyasked the Minister for Health to set out his views on whether the off-trade market for the sale of alcohol is being distorted by anti-competitive practices; if he is considering new regulations to prevent below-cost selling of alcohol; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39378/14]

Minister for Health (Deputy Leo Varadkar): Addressing the price of alcohol is an important component of any long-term strategic approach to tackling alcohol misuse. There is a link between consumption and harm and evidence that affordability is one of the drivers of increased consumption. The Government has approved an extensive package of measures to deal with alcohol misuse, to be incorporated in a Public Health (Alcohol) Bill, including minimum unit pricing.

The Government has decided that minimum unit pricing is the most effective policy measure to deal with the sale of alcohol at cheap prices. Minimum unit pricing is a mechanism of imposing a statutory floor in price levels per gram of alcohol that must be legally observed by retailers in both the on and off trade sector. This is a targeted measure, designed to prevent the sale of alcohol at very cheap prices. It is mainly aimed at those who are higher risk, such as adolescents and people who have a harmful and hazardous alcohol consumption pattern. It should therefore only have a marginal effect on moderate drinkers. It is not expected that minimum unit pricing will affect the price of alcohol in the on-trade sector or the majority of alcohol products sold in the off-trade sector.

Work on developing a framework for the necessary Department of Health legislation is continuing and it is hoped to publish a General Scheme of a Bill shortly.

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