Home > Alcohol Action Ireland publishes its pre-budget submission 2019.

[Alcohol Action Ireland] Alcohol Action Ireland publishes its pre-budget submission 2019. (24 Sep 2018)

External website: http://alcoholireland.ie/alcohol-action-ireland-pu...

Alcohol Action Ireland today (Tuesday 4th September) published its Pre-Budget Submission 2019 and called on Minister Paschal Donohue not to reduce current excise duties on alcohol products and to consider a series of measures that could curb Ireland’s rising alcohol consumption and enhance the capacity of under resourced treatment services.


  • Calls for fiscal measures to curb expanding Off Trade alcohol market
  • Proposes new measures to ensure fresh revenues for innovative proposals to tackle children drinking and enhance alcohol treatment services
  • Recommends an end to unnecessary state supports to flourishing alcohol industry, and
  • The immediate commencement of Minimum price for alcohol products and the enactment of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill.

Proposing two innovative measures, Alcohol Action Ireland highlights the need to recalibrate the Off-Trade alcohol market in Ireland, which they assess being worth €3.74bn in 2017. By increasing the annual off-licence renewal charges, and by imposing a Social Responsibility Levy on all future sales from the Off Trade, over €78m additional receipts could generated to fund action on delaying under-age drinking and enhancing public alcohol treatment programmes.

Commenting on these measures, Eunan McKinney, Head of Communications and Advocacy, said:

Alcohol products continue to be sold at remarkably affordable cost throughout the Off Trade, where over 50% of alcohol revenues are generated but over 65% of alcohol consumed is purchased. This continuous flow towards the availability of cheap alcohol from our small shops, convenience stores and supermarkets must be tackled if we are to make any progress in curbing the rising alcohol consumption, which is leading to such harms across society.

Given the €3.74 billion scale of this market, the modest measures we propose will go some way to recalibrate the weight of responsibility on those licenced to sell such products. This will establish a clear line of funding for further public initiatives that can seek to delay the onset of early drinking by children and enhance under resourced alcohol treatment programmes.

Citing the example of a dramatic turnaround in two decades of Iceland’s crisis with children drinking, he said:

With innovative and radical intervention, Ireland too has an opportunity to recapture the futures of three quarters of our children, who struggle every day to swim against an all-pervasive culture and a tsunami of alcohol marketing and promotion. 60,000 children will regrettably commence too early drinking alcohol this year. This can be avoided if adequately funded measures were established to provide meaningful activities and adopted with implementing the advertising and promotion measures contained within the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill. We simply cannot continue to allow our children to be the source of easy market recruitment by the alcohol industry.

Alcohol Action Ireland (AAI) propose Budget 2019 could establish a 2% Social Responsibility levy on all Off-Trade sales, which potentially could raise €74 million annually, as well as seeking to increase the annual licence renewal fee for a liquor off licence, that could raise an additional €3.6 million.

Additionally, AAI propose the establishment of an innovative ‘Youth Recreational Activities’ allowance that would afford every child in Ireland (12-16 years old) an opportunity to participate in meaningful extra curricula activity, with additional monies also been allocated to enhanced Alcohol Treatment Programmes both in the community and our frontline hospital services.

Alcohol Action Ireland believes the flourishing alcohol industry, especially the craft breweries and distillers, highlights that previous state supports should now be limited, and the benefit afforded to other sectors, more aligned with the Government of Ireland’s Healthy Ireland initiative. Since 2005, the Exchequer has afforded the microbrewing sector a subsidy (tax foregone) of €20.081 million, with 86 businesses benefiting in 2017 to a value of €5.674 million. The Oireachtas also expedited the recently passed Intoxicating Liquor (Breweries and Distilleries) Act 2018, which permit sale by distilleries and breweries of their own product to premises visitors.

Regrettably, 1000 days after it had commenced its passage through the Oireachtas, the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill has yet to be enacted. The introduction of Minimum Unit pricing for all alcohol products is a very important policy instrument within the Bill and will significantly curb the sale of cheap, strong alcohol throughout the Off-Trade market. This, along with all the other evidence-based measures with the Bill, if implemented coherently and cohesively, will reduce alcohol consumption and lessen the impact of alcohol related harms throughout society.

Repository Staff Only: item control page