As part of my speech on the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill 2016, I highlighted the fact that some alcohol products are cheaper today than they were fourteen years ago.
It is an area of huge concern that some alcohol products are actually cheaper today than they in 2002. This means that alcohol is more readily available to those suffering from drinking related health issues, or those who are underage drinking.
According to an Irish Times report on pricing, a can of Budweiser in 2002 cost €1.97. A simple comparison with the websites of Irish based supermarkets shows that the same can may cost as little as €1.42 today (from a 12 pack of 500ml cans). Furthermore, when alco pops became available in 2007 they cost approximately €3 per bottle, while today they can be bought for €1.70 per bottle (from a 4 pack of 275ml bottles).
Readily available and cheap alcohol is a contributing factor to the level of drinking here in Ireland, which sees numerous illnesses and diseases developing annually. For example liver failure has been on the rise here in recent years.
A report by Action Alcohol Ireland argued that minimum pricing would target those with alcohol addiction issues, who generally seek out alcohol for the cheapest price. Minimum pricing would also help to protect our young people, who often have little disposable income to spend on alcohol.