Health Minister says increasing excise on alcohol won't necessarily increase the price of alcohol in shops

Statement released just a few hours after minimum pricing plans were dealt a major blow by Europe

Leo Varadkar says that he is aware of some retailers who are selling drink below the combined cost and amount of the excise duty.

The Health Minister, who wants to increase the price of alcohol in an effort to tackle binge drinking, says increasing excise on alcohol won't necessarily increase the the price of alcohol in shops.

However, earlier today plans for minimum pricing on alcohol have been dealt a major blow after the EU's highest court said the plan would be against European law.

The European Court of Justice says a minimum price for drinks is illegal in cases where a tax could be imposed instead.

The news comes only a week after the health minister Leo Varadkar published legislation which would impose minimum prices of €2 for a regular can of beer, or €10 for a bottle of wine.

In its ruling this morning the court said the measure was unfair because it applied to imported drinks too, and therefore it restricted the ability of foreign drinks companies to trade freely.