New minimum price laws come into force today

New rules on alcohol prices has come into force this morning in a bid to deter problem drinkers and to stop drink being sold at 'pocket money' prices.

Ireland is now one of only a small number of countries in the world to introduce minimum pricing. Scotland was the first in Europe to introduce it in 2018 followed by Wales in 2020. Other countries and territories which already have a legal minimum price include the Russian Federation and regions in Australia and Canada.

The Irish legislation sees a minimum unit price of 10c per gram of alcohol provided for. Minimum unit pricing sets a floor price beneath which alcohol cannot legally be sold and will target products that are cheap relative to their strength. The minimum price is determined by and is directly proportionate to the amount of pure alcohol in the drink.

Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly said: “Today Ireland joins a small number of countries in the world to introduce minimum pricing. This measure is designed to reduce serious illness and death from alcohol consumption and to reduce the pressure on our health services from alcohol related conditions. It worked in Scotland and I look forward to it working here.”

Minister for Public Health, Well Being and the National Drugs Strategy, Frank Feighan said: “We are taking this action to ensure that cheap strong alcohol is not available to children and young people at 'pocket money' prices and to help those who drink to harmful levels to reduce their intake. I am proud that Ireland is among the first countries in the world to introduce this measure and to take real action to help those who need it the most.”