Fine Gael Dublin Senator, Catherine Noone, has today (Friday) noted a ruling by Scotland’s Supreme Civil Court, which has paved the way for the introduction of minimum pricing of alcohol. A legal challenge to the Scottish Government’s plans had been taken by a number of organisations linked to the alcohol industry.
“This is an interesting ruling from Ireland’s point of view, as the Scottish court ruled that minimum pricing is not incompatible with EU law. This is despite claims to the contrary from alcohol industry interests in Scotland.
“I have long held the belief that minimum pricing would be an effective tool in combatting Ireland’s alcohol problems. It is now possible to purchase drink with very high alcohol content at very low prices. Furthermore, the fact that supermarkets can sell cheap drink as a loss leader, just to attract customers in the shop door, is a very worrying trend.
“The harm associated with alcohol misuse and its effects on society are well documented. As well as contributing to a range of illnesses and placing an extra burden of more than €1 billion on the healthcare system every year, alcohol is also associated with instances of suicide and self-harm.
“The Steering Group report on substance misuse, published last year, outlined a series of recommendations aimed at reducing alcohol consumption, including the introduction of minimum pricing.
“I intend to raise this issue with the Minister for Health to establish what progress the Government has made on the introduction of minimum pricing.”