A TAX increase on all alcohol sales was supported in a motion
before the General Synod, together with enhanced powers to curb the
high levels of alcohol abuse in both the Irish Republic and
David Wilson (Derry), seconded by the
Revd David McBeth (Derry), proposed "that this General
Synod expresses grave concern about the ongoing high levels of
alcohol-related health and social damage, and calls on the
governments of both jurisdictions to introduce an extra £0.30/€0.35
per unit tax on all off-licence sales and transactions, which would
be used as further funding for the health services for
alcohol-related disease and preventative measures".
The motion also calls for greater powers to be given to Customs
and Excise, police and judiciary in dealing with criminals who
import or distribute alcohol illegally.
Mr Wilson told the Synod that alcohol abuse was rife across the
island of Ireland. "The Irish health report of 2012 stated that the
average Irish person drank 11.9 litres of pure alcohol per year;
this includes around 20 per cent of the population that abstained
from alcohol. Synod, to put this into perspective, this is
equivalent to 482 pints of average-strength lager, 30 one-litre
bottles of 40% spirits, or 68 bottles of the communion wine we use
He blamed off-licences for the increase in consumption, because
of cheaper prices.