Minimum pricing for alcohol “hasn’t worked and should be dropped”, journalist Ian O’Doherty has said.
The legislation came into effect in January last year and since then every gram of alcohol must cost at least 10 cent.
At the time, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said, “This measure is designed to reduce serious illness and death from alcohol consumption and to reduce the pressure on our health services from alcohol-related conditions.”
Mr O’Doherty was opposed to the measure when it was brought in and one year on has not changed his mind.
“Everybody now realises that it hasn’t actually achieved what they wanted,” he told The Hard Shoulder.
“Let’s just cut to the chase, this is a tax on the working class, it’s a tax on the poor… There was a real stench of moral puritanism about the whole thing.
“Basically, they just don’t approve of serving people drink and it’s the fact that it doesn’t apply to the higher quality, more expensive drinks that the middle classes can afford to buy.
“I think to be honest with you, it was a really mean spirited, punitive and nasty gesture that hasn’t worked and should be dropped.”
CEO of Drink Aware Sheena Horgan said it is still too early to jump to any conclusions about the impact of minimum pricing.
“Its purpose is to reduce consumption among the heavier or some of the heaviest drinkers,” she said.
“We don’t have the data yet as to whether that has shifted that dial or not to be honest.
“If we look at Scotland, the figures there show the figures reduce it by about 6.2% and, at the end of the day, the figure might not seem large but if that’s reducing harms, if it’s reducing hospitalisation then it’s certainly a very good thing to do.”
Main image: Alcohol for sale. Picture by: Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews.ie