Varadkar brings Public Health (Alcohol) Bill before Oireachtas today

Legislative process for minimum unit pricing & other tough measures starts in Seanad

Minister for Health Leo Varadkar has today brought the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill 2015 to the Seanad where it starts its legislative process in the Oireachtas.

This is the first step in the parliamentary process and the Minister for Health hopes it can be completed by the middle of next year.

The Public Health (Alcohol) Bill is the most far-reaching proposed by any Irish Government, with alcohol being addressed for the first time as a public health measure.  The measures are necessary in order to change our damaging relationship with alcohol, and aim to reduce alcohol consumption in Ireland to 9.1 litres per person per annum by 2020, and to reduce the harms associated with alcohol.

The Public Health (Alcohol) Bill addresses affordability, availability and attractiveness through:

•    minimum unit pricing;
•    health labelling of alcohol products;
•    the regulation of advertising and sponsorship of alcohol products;
•    the regulation of sponsorship;
•    structural separation of alcohol products in mixed trading outlets; and
•    the regulation of the sale and supply of alcohol in certain circumstances.

The Department of Health will notify the European Commission of the intention to introduce the proposed measure on minimum unit pricing, labelling and control of marketing and advertising before the end of the year to fulfil our obligations under European Law.