Changes in the price of alcohol, its access, advertising, and labeling will be rolled out over the next two years. This comes as a result of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill which was introduced towards the end of last year.
The bill passed through the Dáil on the 10th October 2018 after more than 1,000 days since it first brought before the Oireachtas. This legislation will target Ireland’s consumption of alcohol, with a particular focus on protecting children and young people.
Restrictions on advertising on public service vehicles, public transport, television, and cinemas will begin to be implemented from the 12th of November this year. Advertising within 200 metres of schools and crèches will also be prohibited.
From 2020, there will be restrictions on how alcohol is stored in off-licences. For example, alcohol products can be contained but not be visible in a unit behind the counter. There will be a total ban on alcohol advertising in a sports area during sporting events and events aimed at children.
The minimum unit price (MUP) will also be increased and set at 10 cents per gram of alcohol. However, cheaper drinks and drinks with a higher concentration of alcohol will be most affected, like cheap wine and spirits. The Minister for Health will be able to adjust the minimum price every 18 months.
Shauna Glennon, a third-year psychology student at Dublin City University welcomes the restrictions of advertising and a step to remove alcohol from sports culture. However, she does not believe that raising the minimum price is key.
“I don’t agree with increasing the price of alcohol because it hasn’t really worked in the past. We absolutely have a problem with drinking culture in Ireland, but alcoholism has a psychological basis,” she said, “If you’re seeing an issue in how people are coping with psychological distress through alcohol, surely there’s a need for better mental health services?”
The bill will also set out stark warnings on labels of bottles and cans, advising consumers of the risk of developing cancer.
Eunan McKinney, Head of Communications and Advocacy for Alcohol Action Ireland said that implementing the MUP should be seen as a “priority”.
“Ireland faces into 2019 with many challenges however encouraging better public health outcomes related to less harmful alcohol consumption remains an objective within our own control,” McKinney said.