The Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) broadly welcomes the view of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) with respect to the introduction of a minimum price per unit of alcohol.
The VFI understands that the ECJ appreciates the objectives of the Scottish Parliament to primarily reduce the hazardous consumption of alcohol, a view and objective we would share as a major industry stakeholder in Ireland.
The ECJ has stated that the introduction of Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) is only justifiable if it is demonstrated to be proportionate and would achieve what higher taxes on alcohol or other forms of taxation wouldn’t achieve.
If higher taxation on alcohol had the capability to address the alcohol related issues highlighted by the health professionals we would have few problems in Ireland. We have one of the highest levels of taxation on alcohol in Europe and it clearly does not address these issues. Taxation as a measure is impotent when some supermarkets sell below the combined VAT and excise levels on a product as they currently do as a loss leader.
The ECJ have referred this back to local courts, and on that basis, it is our opinion, that the Irish government should continue to introduce a MUP in Ireland, and that this remains the best method to reduce harmful drinking and not other tax measures.
For more information: Mick O’Keeffe, 087 8854072 / 01 634 2555