Thursday, 1 October 2015
Department of Health
175. To ask the Minister for Health when the public health (alcohol) Bill 2015 will be published; the measures under consideration to address the pricing of alcohol in the event that minimum unit pricing is found to be illegal by the European Court of Justice; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [33732/15]
The General Scheme of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill was approved by Government on the 3 February 2015. The Scheme includes provisions for minimum unit pricing, health labelling on products that contain alcohol, restrictions on the advertising and marketing of alcohol and the regulation of sports sponsorship. The Public Health (Alcohol) Bill will also provide for the making of regulations to restrict promotions including price based promotions. As part of the pre-legislative scrutiny process, the measures were debated in detail by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children. The JOCH report was published in June 2015. The Department of Health is continuing to work on the preparation of the legislation. The Bill is due to be published in the autumn.
The opinion of the Advocate General of the European Court of Justice on minimum unit pricing (MUP) for alcohol products was published on the 3 September 2015. The opinion indicates that minimum unit pricing may be compatible with European Law if it can be shown to be more effective than other alternative measures. The Department of Health will study the opinion and its implications before the final judgement of the Court. This is expected towards the end of the year.