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Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer – 540 Alcohol pricing. [29997/15]

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer – 540 Alcohol pricing. [29997/15]. (16 Jul 2015)


540. Deputy Billy Kelleherasked the Minister for Health to provide details of the discussions he has undertaken with the relevant members of the Northern Ireland Executive with regard to a joint approach to the introduction of minimum prices for alcohol; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29997/15]

 

570. Deputy Charlie McConalogueasked the Minister for Health to provide details on his discussions with the Northern Ireland Government to ensure that the introduction of minimum unit pricing as part of the proposed public health (alcohol) Bill will happen in tandem with similar minimum unit pricing regulations in Northern Ireland; his plans to ensure that a joint approach by both Governments is taken to the introduction of minimum unit alcohol pricing; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30165/15]

 

Minister for Health (Deputy Leo Varadkar): I propose to take Questions Nos. 540 and 570 together.

Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) is one of a package of measures to be implemented in the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill. MUP sets a minimum price per gram of alcohol, where the minimum price is based on the number of grams of alcohol in the product. This is a targeted measure, aimed at those who drink in a harmful and hazardous manner, and designed to prevent the sale of alcohol at very cheap prices. MUP is able to target cheaper alcohol relative to its strength because the minimum price is determined by and is directly proportional to the amount of pure alcohol in the drink.

The Minister for Health in Northern Ireland has announced plans to introduce minimum unit pricing for alcohol. A policy paper and public consultation is being finalised by the Executive and will be published in the near future. This consultation will shape and inform future decisions on any legislation needed to bring minimum unit pricing into law in Northern Ireland. My Department is in contact with its counterparts in the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety on the matter.

 

A health impact assessment, in conjunction with Northern Ireland, was commissioned from the University of Sheffield as part of the process of developing a legislative basis for minimum unit pricing. The University of Sheffield produced a further report - Addendum to Irish and Northern Ireland Minimum Unit Price Appraisals - comparison of results.  The report compares the results of the appraisal of minimum unit pricing in both jurisdictions. Further discussions are to be held with Northern Ireland regarding the publication of this additional report.

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