Written answers

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Photo of Patrick O'DonovanPatrick O'Donovan (Limerick, Fine Gael)
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To ask the Minister for Health when the alcohol pricing proposals relating to the sale of alcohol at below cost prices will be brought before Dáil Éireann; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57559/12]

Photo of James ReillyJames Reilly (Dublin North, Fine Gael)
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Real and tangible proposals are currently being finalized on foot of the recommendations in the Substance Misuse report. I intend to submit these proposals to the Government for consideration and approval as soon as possible. These proposals cover all of the areas mentioned in the report, including: legislation on minimum unit pricing which is about setting a statutory floor price per gram of alcohol; access and availability of alcohol - including of course structural separation in retail units where alcohol is sold; and advertising and sponsorship.

My officials and I are in continuing discussions with the Departments of Justice & Equality; Transport, Tourism & Sport; Communications, Energy & Natural Resources; Arts, Heritage & Gaeltacht Affairs; and Agriculture, Marine & Food on various aspects of the proposals. I therefore expect to make progress on this important area early in the new year when the proposals will be brought to Government. In the meantime, work by my officials on developing a framework for the necessary Department of Health legislation governing, among others, minimum unit pricing, is continuing.

For example, in conjunction with Northern Ireland, a health impact assessment is being commissioned as part of the process of developing a legislative basis for minimum unit pricing. The health impact assessment will study the impact of different minimum prices on a range of areas such as health, crime and likely economic impact.


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