Thursday, 28 April 2022
Department of Health
In October 2013, a Government Decision approved the drafting of legislation to address alcohol as a public health issue, as recommended by the 2012 National Substance Misuse Strategy. In this Government Decision it was agreed that Minimum Unit Pricing of alcohol products would be introduced simultaneously with Northern Ireland to allay concerns about negative impacts on cross-border trade.
Over time it became apparent that simultaneous implementation on both sides of the border would not be possible within a reasonable timeframe. A revised Government Decision agreed the introduction of Minimum Unit Pricing in January of this year, in recognition of the urgent need to reduce the health harms of alcohol use in this jurisdiction through preventing the sale of strong alcohol products at very low prices.
There has been, and continues to be, ongoing engagement with Northern Ireland on this measure. Cooperation with colleagues in Northern Ireland takes place in the context of the North-South Ministerial Council and the British-Irish Council. In particular, the North-South Alcohol Policy Advisory Group is an important forum for sharing learnings and experiences on alcohol policy issues across the island on an ongoing basis. Engagement with Northern Ireland will continue as that jurisdiction moves towards the introduction of Minimum Unit Pricing.