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Tuesday 23 July 2019

Ireland will move quickly to implement minimum alcohol pricing - Varadkar

Patience: Leo Varadkar says there is hostility to another delay. Photo: Julien Warnard/Pool via REUTERS
Patience: Leo Varadkar says there is hostility to another delay. Photo: Julien Warnard/Pool via REUTERS
John Downing

John Downing

IRELAND will move quickly to implement a minimum price below which alcoholic drink cannot be sold, the Taoiseach has said.

Mr Varadkar said the recent data in Scotland – which brought in the measure in May of last year – showed it was working well. This encouraged the Irish Government to implement the measure already contained in an alcohol control law passed by the Dáil and Seanad.

By contrast the Taoiseach, speaking at the close of an EU leaders’ summit, said the Government will “take a few months” to see how a new UK law about online pornography curbs works out in practice. He said there appeared to be early difficulties with its implementation in Britain.

“Ireland leads on lots of things. But one of the advantages of not taking the lead on everything is that you learn from other people’s mistakes,” Mr Varadkar said.

But he said the Government will move ahead quickly to put in practice measures contained in the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill enacted last October. Scotland became the first EU country in 2018 to enforce a minimum unit price for drink and data published this week showed consumption had dropped to its lowest level since records began in the early 1990s.

“Scotland brought in the legislation first and it does seem to be working, consumption is falling, and we’ll press ahead with implementing our public health alcohol legislation,” Mr Varadkar said.

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