Alcohol

Alcohol

In 2012, we published the Steering Group Report on a National Substance Misuse Strategy.  The report contains a range of recommendations to, among other things, reduce the consumption of alcohol in general.  These recommendations are grouped under five pillars of Supply Reduction (availability), Prevention, Treatment, Rehabilitation and Research.

The General Scheme of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill was published in February 2015 and Government approved the publication of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill in the Houses of the Oireachtas on the 8th December 2015.  The Bill aims to reduce consumption to. 9.1 litres of pure alcohol per capita and the harms caused by alcohol.  This is part of a suite of measures agreed by the Government in 2013 on foot of the recommendations in the Steering Group Report on a National Substance Misuse Strategy, 2012.

The Bill includes provisions for:

  • minimum unit pricing
  • health labelling of alcohol products
  • the regulation of advertising and marketing of alcohol
  • the regulation of sponsorship
  • structural separation of alcohol products in mixed trading outlets and
  • the regulation of the sale and supply of alcohol in certain circumstances

The Bill was initiated in the Seanad on the 17th December 2015.

Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) – Public Health (Alcohol) Bill

Press Release

Notification Process

The European Commission was formally notified on the 22nd January 2016 of the intention to introduce the proposed legislation on minimum unit pricing, labelling and control of marketing and advertising under the Technical Standards and Regulations Directive (Directive 98/34/EC).  The standstill period will end on 28th April 2016.

This standstill period will be extended for further period of three months in the event that the Commission or another Member State delivers, within the first three months, a detailed opinion that the measure envisaged may create obstacles to the free movement of goods within the internal market.

European Commission Notification

European Court of Justice Judgement on Minimum Unit Pricing

The European Court of Justice ruled on 23rd December on proposals by the Scottish Government to introduce Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP).  The Court judgment states that the legislation may be justified on the grounds of the protection of health if it is proportionate to the objective pursued, and cannot be achieved by other measures such as taxation. Officials are studying the implications of the judgment.

Research shows that a strong and convincing case can be made in favour of MUP over other measures. It indicates that MUP is a proportionate measure and the only measure that would effectively target the widespread access to alcohol that is very cheap relative to its strength.

Model-based appraisal of minimum unit pricing for alcohol in the Republic of Ireland

Useful Links

The Health Service Executive (HSE) is responsible for providing Health and Personal Social Services for everyone living in the Republic of Ireland.  For information and guidance on alcohol and addiction services provided by the HSE visit:

The Health Research Board (HRB) is the lead agency in Ireland supporting and funding health research.  The HRB works in collaboration with the Department on providing research and an evidence base for alcohol control policy measures.

The Citizens Information website provides information on public services and entitlements in Ireland including alcohol and drug treatment services.