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Home > Joint Committee on Health and Children Debate. General Scheme of Public Health (Alcohol) Bill 2015: (Resumed) Alcohol Research Group.

[Oireachtas] Joint Committee on Health and Children Debate. General Scheme of Public Health (Alcohol) Bill 2015: (Resumed) Alcohol Research Group. (12 Mar 2015)

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Chairman: The second segment of our meeting today is to continue our pre-legislative scrutiny of the heads of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill 2015. I warmly welcome Dr. John Holmes and Mr. Colin Angus to this committee meeting.


Dr. Holmes is part of the Sheffield Alcohol Research Group which plays a leading role in carrying out key international research to examine the impact of minimum unit pricing on drinking behaviour. Dr. Holmes has spoken on this topic in the Scottish Parliament and in Westminster. I would ask that members give him due consideration and thank him most sincerely for coming before us today.


Witnesses are protected by absolute privilege in respect of their evidence to the committee. If you are directed by the Chairman to cease giving evidence on a particular matter and continue to do so, you are entitled thereafter only to qualified privilege in respect of the evidence. You are directed that only evidence connected with the subject matter of these proceedings is to be given. Members and witnesses are reminded of the long-standing parliamentary practice that they should not comment on, criticise or make charges against a person outside the Houses or an official by name or in such a way as to make him or her identifiable. I invite Dr. Holmes to make his opening remarks.


Dr. John Holmes: I thank the committee for inviting us to give evidence today. As the Chair said, the Sheffield Alcohol Research Group has been conducting work looking at alcohol policies in general and minimum unit pricing in particular since 2008. The Irish Government and the Northern Ireland Executive commissioned us in 2013 to examine the potential effects of minimum unit pricing in their respective countries and we will focus on that work in our presentation today. However, before coming to that, I would like to give the committee a little background on the wider evidence on the effectiveness of using alcohol prices to reduce alcohol-related harm……


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