Home > Alcohol action call for bold action in addressing Ireland’s problematic alcohol use in pre-budget submission.

[Alcohol Action Ireland] Alcohol action call for bold action in addressing Ireland’s problematic alcohol use in pre-budget submission. (09 Sep 2021)

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Alcohol Action call for bold action in addressing Ireland’s problematic alcohol use in Pre-Budget submission


Cost of alcohol harm must be placed on the economic operators


Alcohol Action Ireland, the independent advocate for reducing alcohol harm, has today (Thursday 9th September) published its Pre-Budget submission in which it advises the Minister for Finance not to further enhance the affordability of alcohol by reducing excise taxes. Central to its submission, Alcohol Action, advises the Minister on two specific matters:


The retention of existing excise duties on alcohol products and introduce a Consumer Price/Inflation Index to alcohol excise rates from 2022.

The introduction of specific responsibility levies on all alcohol economic operators to adequately fund the cost to society from alcohol harm.


Alcohol-related inpatient care alone currently costs the public health system an estimated €35m every week in Ireland; €1.8bn annually at 11% of all public healthcare expenditure.


The findings from the National Drug and Alcohol Survey 2019/20, highlight that 578,000 people in Ireland have an Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) – a prevalence rate of 14.8% in the general adult population.


An estimated:


90,000 people with severe Alcohol Use Disorder

155,000 people with moderate Alcohol Use Disorder

333,000 people with mild Alcohol Use Disorder.


The wider societal cost, inclusive of alcohol related impacts to the social care, criminal justice, productivity and social protection expenditure, as well as the unspoken loss of human creativity, enterprise and potential, is in excess of €3.6bn annually.


The submission outlines how a comprehensive approach must be taken to tackling the impact of alcohol harm through adequate funding to:


Enhance dedicated alcohol prevention programmes, 

Extend treatment intervention services 

Provide child-centric care to support children impacted by parental problem alcohol use 

Resource a dedicated policy office on preventing alcohol harm.

Alcohol Action Ireland proposes that funding this strategic approach to addressing Ireland’s most common drug problem must be placed on the economic operators, who profit from such chronic levels of harms.


Adequate funding can be raised by levy on all On and Off Trade sales and the holders of liquor licences. Recognising the scale of alcohol purchase between the On-Trade (one-third) and Off-Trade (two-thirds), and the enhanced affordability in the Off-trade, a 1% levy on On-trade sales and 2% on Off-Trade sales, should be explored.


Equally, mindful of a likely modernisation of licensing laws and application processes emerging from the forthcoming Nighttime Economy Taskforce, AAI believe an appropriate revised fee/levy should also be placed on the applicant and holder of any alcohol licence, reflective of the harm arising and the impact to public health facilitated by even greater availability of alcohol.


Commenting on the submission, Eunan McKinney, AAI Head of Communications, said:


“Our Pre-Budget submission to the Ministers of Finance and Public Expenditure simply highlights the continuing scale of the problem our society has with alcohol harm and the need for an adequate public response to address the shocking human loss to our society and our economy from persistent problematic alcohol use.


The dreadful outcomes which play out in our homes and workplaces, on our streets and communities, can be resolved if sufficient purpose and strategic intent is applied.


With the means of raising revenue placed squarely on the economic operators who benefit, adequate public monies can be raised to tackle an ever deepening public health crisis.”

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