Press Release

Minister Corcoran Kennedy opens conference in the European Parliament on Minimum Unit Pricing of Alcohol

Minister for Health Promotion, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy TD, today opened a conference in the European Parliament on Minimum Unit Pricing of Alcohol.

The conference was organised and hosted by Brian Hayes,MEP and Alyn Smith, MEP (Scotland).

The aim of the conference was to discuss the fight against alcohol harm and in particular the issue of setting a minimum unit price for alcohol.

The Minister in her speech at the conference dealt with

  • The level of consumption in Ireland
  • The Public Health Alcohol Bill which includes provision for a minimum unit price for alcohol
  • The harm caused by alcohol
  • The cost of alcohol misuse
  • The Scottish legal case relating to the introduction of a minimum unit cost for alcohol

Minister Corcoran Kennedy said: “Ireland has a serious problem – we drink too much alcohol. When we drink, we tend to binge drink. More than half of adult drinkers in the population are classified as harmful drinkers.”

  • 3 people a day die as a result of alcohol misuse – this is more than the numbers killed on our roads
  • Every night at least 1,500 hospital beds are occupied as a result of alcohol misuse

The Minister continued, “Our aim is to reduce alcohol consumption to the OECD average and to reduce binge drinking. The Government is tackling this with the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill which is the first ever public health legislation on alcohol and among the most far-reaching in Europe. It will bring in minimum unit pricing to tackle cheap alcohol, the separation of alcohol in stores to reduce availability and visibility, health and calorie labelling to give people more information about the risks they are taking and also marketing and advertising restrictions.”

The Government is committed to tackling alcohol misuse in Ireland and the widespread harm it causes. The Public Health (Alcohol) Bill commenced Committee Stage in the Seanad recently and remains a priority for this Government.