Alcohol Legislation

Public Health (Alcohol) Act 2018

The Public Health (Alcohol) Act 2018 was signed into law on 17 October 2018. The primary policy objectives of the Public Health (Alcohol) Act 2018 are to:

reduce alcohol consumption to 9.1 litres of pure alcohol per person per annum by 2020

delay the initiation of alcohol consumption by children and young people

reduce the harms caused by the misuse of alcohol

ensure the supply and price of alcohol is regulated and controlled in order to minimise the possibility and incidence of alcohol related harm

The Act includes provisions for minimum unit pricing, structural separation, health labelling on products that contain alcohol, restrictions on the advertising and marketing of alcohol, the regulation of alcohol sponsorship and restrictions on certain promotional activities. You can find frequently asked questions here

You will find further information including guidance documents for industry which have been published to help with the implementation of the legislation here on the Department of Health website.

Role of the Environmental Health Service

The Environmental Health Service’s role in this area primarily involves the enforcement of the legislation. The Act has come into force as follows:

12 November 2019 - Sections 14, 17 and 20

12 November 2020 - Section 22

11 January 2021 - Public Health (Alcohol) Act 2018 (Sale and Supply of Alcohol Products) Regulations 2020 (S.I. No. 4 of 2020) made under section 23 of the Act

12 November 2021 - Sections 15 and 16

4 January 2022 – Section 11

Section 11 prohibits the sale, advertisement or promotion of an alcohol product at a price below the minimum price of the alcohol product concerned. The minimum price per gram of alcohol is €0.10.

Section 14 prohibits the advertising of alcohol products in the following places:

  • in or at a school (including its grounds) or within 200 metres of the perimeter
  • in or at an early years’ service or within 200 metres of the perimeter
  • in or at a playground owned or maintained by a local authority or within 200 metres of the perimeter
  • in a park or open space owned or maintained by a local authority or the OPW
  • in or on a public service vehicle (taxi, hackney, limo, bus)
  • in or on a train or light rail vehicle (luas)
  • in or at a train station or bus station
  • at a bus stop or light rail vehicle stop

An advertisement on or attached to a licensed premises or a premises where alcohol products are manufactured or sold by wholesale is not prohibited.

Section 15 prohibits the advertising of an alcohol product in or on a sports area when a sports event is taking place, at an event aimed particularly at children, or at an event where the majority of individuals taking part are children.

Section 16 prohibits the sponsorship by alcohol companies of events where the majority of individuals taking part are children, events aimed particularly at children, or events that involve driving or racing cars or motorbikes.

Section 17 prohibits the manufacture or import for sale, or the sale in the State of children’s clothing which promotes alcohol consumption or is branded with an alcohol product name, trademark, emblem, marketing image or logo.

Section 20 prohibits the advertising of alcohol products in a cinema except immediately before or during an over 18 year’s film or in a licensed premises in a cinema.

Section 22 provides for the separation and visibility of alcohol products and advertisements for alcohol products in mixed trade retail premises by means of one of the following options, and/or a closed storage unit at one point of sale area.

  • A single area of the shop separated by a physical barrier which has a minimum height of not less than 1.2 metres and through which alcohol and advertisements for alcohol are not visible.
  • One or more enclosed adjacent storage units in which alcohol is not visible up to a minimum height of 1.5 metres.
  • A maximum of three open adjacent units, each not exceeding 1 metre wide and 2.2 metres high.

You can find frequently asked questions on Section 22 here.

Public Health (Alcohol) Act 2018 (Sale and Supply of Alcohol Products) Regulations 2020 (S.I. No. 4 of 2020)

They are the first set of Regulations made under Section 23 of the Public Health (Alcohol) Act 2018.

They prohibit:

  • the award of, or use of bonus or loyalty card points in relation to the sale of alcohol products
  • the sale and advertisement of alcohol products at a reduced price or free of charge when sold with one or more alcohol products or another product or service
  • the sale and advertisement of alcohol products at a reduced price for a period of three days or less

 Contact details for Environmental Health Officers

Please click here for details on how to contact your Environmental Health Officer 

AskAboutAlcohol.ie  

AskAboutAlcohol.ie is a HSE website which provides information on alcohol – about how much we’re drinking, how it affects us health-wise, and how we can gain more by drinking less.

The website has been created to provide an authoritative information source on alcohol risk and offers support and guidance to anyone who wants to cut back on their drinking.