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Minimum unit pricing for alcohol approved by Cabinet - but it won't kick in until January 2022

Concerns were raised about the difference in the price of alcohol in the North.

Image: graph: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

CABINET HAS SIGNED off on minimum unit pricing for alcohol – but it won’t take affect until 1 January 2022.

The new measures, which won’t kick in until the first week of next year, will put the price of alcohol at a minimum of 10c per gram.

Cheap drinks with a high alcohol content – such as supermarket own-brands of spirits – are the main drinks that would increase in price after minimum unit pricing is introduced.

It mean the standard bottle of wine cannot be sold for less than €7.75, while a standard bottle of spirits cannot be sold for under €20.

There had been speculation in recent weeks that the new changes could kick in sooner rather than later.

However, concerns had been expressed – by lobby group Drink Ireland and government TDs – that if minimum unit pricing was introduced in the next few weeks, the same should be done in Northern Ireland.

However, Northern Ireland’s Health Minister Robin Swann said such a measure wouldn’t be introduced until 2023.

An Irish government spokesperson said this evening that ministers agreed the timeline of January 2022 “to give more time” for all stakeholders to prepare for the changes.
In 2018, Scotland became the first country in the EU to bring in minimum unit pricing – a model which Ireland is following.

Data reported in June showed that consumption levels of alcohol had dropped to the lowest level since records began in the early 1990s.

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