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Church of Ireland General Synod: Alcohol Tax

16 May 2014

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 Northern Ireland.

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 at Bovevagh."

He blamed off-licences for the increase in consumption, because of cheaper prices.

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