Published by BBC NEWS - 4th January 2022

Off licence

Image source, Getty Images

A decision by the Republic of Ireland’s government to introduce minimum unit pricing on alcohol has come into effect.

The new law will affect alcohol sold in off licences, shops and supermarkets.

Some retailers fear unless similar measures are introduced in Northern Ireland there will be a surge in cross-border shoppers seeking “cheaper booze”.

The government believes minimum pricing is a vital public health measure.

The measure aims to change dangerous patterns of alcohol behaviour with the intention of deterring binge drinking, RTE reported.

Under the new measures, a standard bottle of wine cannot be sold for less than €7.40 (£6.40) and a can of beer for less than €1.70 (£1.40)

Spirits with 40% alcohol content cannot be sold for less than €20.70 (£17.30) and a 700 ml bottle of whiskey for less than €22. (£18.40)

Woman shopping in off licence

Image source, Getty Images

Statistics from the country’s Revenue Commissioners indicated that alcohol consumption levels in 2020 were 10.07 litres of pure alcohol per person, only slightly down – 6.6% – on the previous year despite the closure of many pubs and restaurants for large parts of 2020.

Alcohol consumption has remained at about 11 litres per person since 2015.

That is the equivalent of 116 bottles of wine or 445 pints of beer per adult every year.

Scotland introduced minimum unit pricing in 2018 and the following year alcohol consumption fell to its lowest level in more than two decades.

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