The tax will apply to soft drinks with added sugar

The European Commission's cleared the way for a tax on sugar sweetened drinks sold here.

It found the proposals do not unduly distort competition, and do not involve State aid.

In particular, it said the scope and design of the the measures are "consistent with the health objectives pursued by Ireland" - namely tackling obesity and other sugar related diseases.

In February, Ireland told the commission of its plans to introduce a sugar tax that did not involve any State aid within the meaning of EU rules.

General view of soft drinks on supermarket shelving in London | Image: Lewis Whyld/PA Archive/PA Images

The tax will apply to soft drinks containing added sugar with a sugar content of five grams or more.

In its assessment, the commission found that soft drinks can be treated differently to other sugary products in view of health objectives.

For example, it took into account the fact that soft drinks are the main source of calories devoid of any nutritional value - and thereby raise particular health issues.

It also concluded that soft drinks are "particularly liable" to lead to over-consumption and represent a higher risk of obesity.