The days of 15 cans for €15 are over - Varadkar
HEALTH Minister Leo Varadkar has said "the days of 15 cans or bottles of beer being sold for €15 is a thing of the past".
He made the vow to end the sale of cheap drink as the Cabinet approved a Bill that will set minimum prices for alcohol.
Under the planned legislation a can of beer will cost at least €2.20 and bottle of wine would be set at a minimum of €8.80.
Meanwhile, cigarette pack-style warnings would be printed on labels by law along with the calorie count of drinks.
Ministers approved the Heads of the proposed Public Health (Alcohol) Bill 2015 yesterday.
The legislation, due this summer, will mean new restrictions on advertising with environmental health officers given powers of enforcement. But the law stops short of banning drinks sponsorship of sporting events.
The new pricing rules would see a minimum price of between 9c and 11c per gram of alcohol.
That means the minimum cost of an unit of alcohol - about half a pint of beer or a small glass of wine - will be set between 90c and €1.10.
If the higher price is imposed, it means a bottle of wine could not be legally sold for less than €8.80 and a can of beer for €2.20.
"Most Irish adults drink too much and many drink dangerously," Mr Varadkar said.
"This has an enormous impact on our society and economy through greater illness and higher health costs, public order and violent offences, road traffic collisions, injuries and absence from work.
"It is also associated with many suicides and instances of sexual violence, domestic violence and child harm. The time for debate is over, we have had four years of it now."
The legislation will allow the sponsorship of sports events by drinks companies to continue, but it provides for a review in three years. There will be legal regulation of this sponsorship for the first time.
It is planned to introduce restrictions on the advertising and marketing of alcohol from 2016 - including a broadcast watershed on TV and radio.
The plan will also impose further restrictions on cinema and outdoor advertising.