Taoiseach Says New Alcohol Legislation “Puts Public Health First"
The Taoiseach has insisted proposed new alcohol laws aim to put public health before business interests.
Lobbyists have warned that aspects of the Public Health Alcohol Bill will reduce Ireland's exports as well as the amount of people coming to visit distilleries here.
The bill is due to be debated in the Dáil this week.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar says he doesn't foresee any further amendments to it:
“We need to put public health first,” he said.
“If you look at the number of people who die prematurely because of alcohol; the number of people in our hospitals at the moment because of alcohol.”
“Sexual assault; child abuse; violence in our streets; road death – all very much linked to alcohol.
“Exports are important but maybe not that important.”
The bill seeks to introduce a minimum price for alcohol – and will place health warnings on products.
It will also tackle drink promotions.
The alcohol industry has lobbied against the legislation - and claimed the data used in support of the measures by the Department of Health is misleading.
Industry representatives have warned that the proposed measures are unnecessarily restrictive with education initiatives “entirely missing” from the bill.