Court decision could bring the island one step closer to curbing significant health impacts of low-price alcohol
Minimum Unit Pricing could lead to fewer deaths and reduce hospital admissions across the island
The Institute of Public Health in Ireland (IPH) has today (Wednesday, 15 November) welcomed the UK Supreme Court’s decision which allows for legislation to introduce Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) for alcohol in Scotland to be implemented. The Institute of Public Health in Ireland’s (IPH) Director of Policy, Dr Helen McAvoy, said that today’s decision could bring us one step closer to curbing the significant health impacts of low-price alcohol on the island.
Dr Helen McAvoy highlighted evidence which shows that there could be 202 fewer deaths – over four per week – and over 6,400 fewer hospital admissions annually if MUP were introduced across the island. Dr McAvoy explained that the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill – which passed the Committee Stage in the Seanad last week – provides the legislative basis for Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) to be introduced in the Republic of Ireland.
“Legislating for Minimum Unit Pricing is absolutely critical to making progress on addressing the harmful pattern of alcohol consumption across the island. Today’s UK Supreme Court decision will help inform decision-making on this issue in Northern Ireland as will the recent decision by the Welsh Government to publish a Minimum Unit Pricing Bill. The UK Supreme Court decision is also important for the Republic as Minister Harris has said that the timing of the introduction of Minimum Unit Pricing in the South will have regard to developments in the North.
“The Public Health (Alcohol) Bill’s provision for Minimum Unit Pricing is of particular relevance as it can directly address the overall level of alcohol consumption in Ireland. Comprehensive studies on the impact of Minimum Unit Pricing were developed for the Departments of Health, North and South in 2014 by the University of Sheffield. These modelling studies show that Minimum Unit Pricing has significant potential to reduce alcohol-related harm in general and in particular among the most socio-economically disadvantaged communities.”
Dr Helen McAvoy concluded that IPH support for the introduction of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill is urgent in the context of new data highlighting the extent of harmful patterns of alcohol consumption in Ireland.
Notes to Editors
Institute of Public Health in Ireland (IPH)
The Institute of Public Health in Ireland is an all-island body which supports cooperation on public health North and South to promote collective action for sustained improvements in health with a particular focus on addressing health inequalities.
North South Alcohol Policy Advisory Group (NSAPAG)
IPH chairs and provides support to the North South Alcohol Policy Advisory Group established in 2012 by the Chief Medical Officers in both jurisdictions to facilitate all-island cooperation on policies to reduce alcohol related harm.
Notes on Sources
The modelling study referred to here is Model-based appraisal of minimum unit pricing for alcohol in the Republic of Ireland – an adaption of the Sheffield Alcohol Policy Model version 3. September 2014. Access here
Link to Northern Ireland modelling study - http://www.drugsandalcohol.ie/23125/1/Model-based%20appraisal%20of%20minimum%20unit%20pricing%20for%20alcohol%20in%20Northern%20Ireland.pdf
Heavy episodic drinking is defined in this table as ingesting more than 60g of pure ethanol on a single occasion, which is the equivalent in Ireland of three pints of beer or six pub measures of spirits (Source = Women and Men in Ireland, 2016 Table 5.17 (XLS 14KB))
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Pat Montague, Montague Communications, 087-2549123