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This is the second year-in-a-row that no new measures were introduced. Alamy Stock Photo
budget 2024

Alcohol Action express disappointment as no new measures for booze announced in Budget 2024

Alcohol Action Ireland and the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland have both express disappointment – for different reasons.

NO NEW MEASURES have been announced on alcohol, beit to reduce or increase excise duties, in this year’s budget.

Alcohol Action Ireland, a charity and advocacy group to reduce harm caused by alcohol, and the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland, who represent the alcohol industry, have both expressed disappointment that no new measures were announced – for different reasons.

The lack of “urgent action” to address alcohol harm was highlighted by the charity group, who had said none of their pre-budget submissions were taken on board by the government.

A ‘polluter pays’ model of alcohol taxation, the establishment of an Alcohol Harm Reduction office and increased funding for treatment services were a few of the submissions that Alcohol Action proposed.

Separately, Chair of the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI), Kathryn D’Arcy said this year’s budget “failed to grasp” the impact VAT increases and excise duties have on the industry.

D’Arcy said the group had put forwarded a “costed, stepped plan” to reduce excise rates over the next two years, which would prioritise the business and employment in the sector.

Budget 2024 is a missed opportunity,”

“We need to collectively refocus on how we approach excise rates, particularly given the competitive advantage European countries enjoy and what this means for the tourism and hospitality sector,” D’Arcy added.

However, despite the high rates of excise, CEO of Alcohol Action Sheila Gilheany suggested that a further increase would help address the 1,500 of alcohol-related deaths that happen in Ireland each year.

“Today the Minister for Finance rightly used a public health imperative to further tax tobacco products, it is deeply disappointing that no such parity applies when it comes to alcohol and public health,” Gilheany said.

This year, Dieago – the owners of Guinness – increased the price of a pint by 16 cents in two seperate increases, one in February and another in July.

There has also been an average of 152 pub closures a year since 2019, according to DIGI.

This is the second year-in-a-row that no new measures were introduced by the Department of Finance however new legislation on health labelling for alcohol products was brought into law by the Department of Health earlier in the year.

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