Gone are the days of saving your last few quid for a couple of cans or a bottle of wine, and you can wave goodbye to cheap cans in the park, as minimum alcohol prices come into effect across the country.
Under minimum unit pricing implemented today, the cheapest a gram of alcohol can be sold for is 10c. If an average drink is 10 grams, the minimum price for a drink is therefore 1 euro.
While the new pricing won’t affect all alcohol (when was the last time you were charged a euro for a drink?), it will increase the cost of very strong alcohol that is sold at very low prices, including spirits, wines and baskets of cans.
Although there has been national outrage at this new price hike, we all know that Ireland has a huge issue with alcohol over-indulgence, and these laws have been implemented to delay young people’s access to drink, and reduce binge drinking and hospitalisations. This measure has proved effective in Scotland and across the UK.
While cheap alcohol and the horrendous hangovers that resulted from it were a large part of my college years, I ended up having to seriously cut down on my drinking for my own mental and physical health. Ireland’s drinking culture certainly needs to be tackled one way or another.
So what do you think? Is this a progressive move towards a new, sober Ireland and a decline in a drinking culture, or is it penalising those who can barely afford alcohol prices as it is, possibly resulting in further dependence on other substances?