Thursday, 24 January 2019

Ceisteanna (166)

Tony McLoughlin

Ceist:

166. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Health if he gave a commitment that minimum unit pricing of alcohol would not be introduced here until it was also being introduced in Northern Ireland with regard to concerns being expressed by an association (details supplied) regarding the minimum unit pricing for alcohol; if his attention has been drawn to the damage the introduction of this new system in one jurisdiction here and not the other would do to thousands of small off-licence businesses in the Border region; his plans in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3488/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The objective of Minimum Unit Pricing is to ensure that strong alcohol can no longer be sold at low prices and, in particular, to prevent it being sold at pocket money prices in order to protect our children.

The 2013 Government Decision which approved the drafting of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill envisaged that Minimum Unit Pricing would be implemented simultaneously in Northern Ireland. The situation has changed owing to the suspended administration in Northern Ireland and on that basis it is my intention to seek a revised Government Decision to implement Minimum Unit Pricing in this jurisdiction only in order to address the health harms and costs associated with the availability of cheap strong alcohol.