Donegal views on new alcohol pricing legislation
Minimum alcohol pricing has been introduced across the State.
The new law, which came into effect on Monday, means a standard bottle of wine, from an off-licence, shop or supermarket, cannot be sold for less than €7.40 and a can of beer cannot be sold for less than €1.70.
However, one Donegal shop owner questioned how effective, what he described as the “stealth tax”, was going to be.
Speaking to Donegal Live, Joe Joyce, who owns the Centra shop in Clonmany, in Inishowen, said there would be no major change in the price of spirits or wine.
Mr Joyce: “There will, however, be big changes in the price of beer. Minimum alcohol pricing will add approximately €8 to the price of a box of beer containing 20 bottles. Previously a box of beer would have cost around €15. It will now cost about €23.
“The money raised as a result of minimum unit pricing is going straight to the Revenue. It is not going to the shop, supermarket or off-licence owners.
“There are questions over where the additional money is going. Is it being ring-fenced for alcohol education or prevention initiatives or is it going into the Government's coffers?
“The idea of people heading to the North, where minimum alcohol pricing has not been introduced, to buy alcohol, might be an issue, depending on how close you live to the border. If someone had a big occasion coming up, they might consider it but, I think, most people will pop into their local shop, supermarket or off-licence for their couple of bottles of wine.”
The Clonmany businessman drew a parallel between the Sugar Sweetened Drinks Tax (SSDT), introduced in May 2018, and minimum alcohol pricing.
The SSDT raised €31.72 million in its first year.
Mr Joyce asked: “I wonder if any of that revenue was used to employ additional dietitians?”
According to Health Minister Stephen Donnelly the minimum alcohol pricing measure was designed to reduce serious illness and death from alcohol consumption.
The Minister added: “It will also reduce the pressure on our health services from alcohol related conditions.
“It worked in Scotland and I look forward to it working here.”
Minister of State with responsibility for Public Health, Well Being and the National Drugs Strategy, Frank Feighan, said the Government was taking action to ensure cheap, strong alcohol is not available to young people at 'pocket money prices.
He added: “We are also taking this action to help those who drink to harmful levels to reduce their intake.
“I am proud that Ireland is among the first countries in the world to introduce this measure and to take real action to help those who need it most.”
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