The Minister for Health has confirmed that he will seek Cabinet approval on the minimum unit price of alcohol by the end of the year.

Simon Harris was responding to calls from Alcohol Action Ireland to fully implement the Public Health Alcohol Bill, which became law last year.

The first tranche of measures of the act will come into effect in three weeks' time.

From 12 November, alcohol advertising on public transport, at stations and stops, will be prohibited.

Ads promoting alcohol will not be shown at under 18 movies in cinemas.

The promotion of alcohol on children's clothing or anywhere within 200 metres of schools, creches or playgrounds will also be against the law.

The advertising industry has had a year to implement the measures, but it has not been without difficulties.

Media companies found it "very difficult initially", according to the Director of Drinks Ireland, Patricia Callan, because the perimeter of schools did not exist on maps.

However, the companies in question eventually found a way of pinpointing the 200m radius.

Ms Callan also points out that there are implications in terms of public transport, resulting in a revenue loss for organisations.

The Public Health Alcohol Bill is split into three sections. Part 1 centres on definitions and rules, while Part 3 addresses enforcement and compliance.

Those parts are largely technical and deal with how the bill operates in practice.

The middle section, Part 2, contains most of the new substantive policy changes dealing with minimum pricing, the content of advertising and warnings on labels.

AAI is calling for the act to be implemented in full.

The whole point of the act, according to AAI CEO Sheila Gilheany, is that it encompassed a range of measures that worked together. 

When pressed however, Ms Gilheany describes minimum unit pricing as the most pressing part of the legislation. 

AAI cites Scotland as an example of the success of minimum unit pricing.

Introduced by the Scottish government last May, it points to minimum pricing as a reason for a 20% drop in the number of alcohol-related deaths in Glasgow.

Moves by the Scottish government to tackle alcohol dependency has not been lost on the Minister for Health.

Mr Harris has met his Scottish counterpart who introduced the measure in 2018.

Minimum unit pricing was set to be brought in Ireland at the same time as Northern Ireland. 

However, in the absence of an Assembly at Stormont, the minister has decided to press ahead and propose minimum pricing to Cabinet before the end of the year. 

The drinks industry has warned that the loss to the Exchequer will be in the order of €180m if it is not introduced with Northern Ireland.

Ms Callan has suggested waiting for the Stormont Assembly to be set up again before this measure is introduced.

AAI said the high level of alcohol consumption in Ireland results in 1,000 deaths per year. 

Ms Gilheany says the act took years to pass, saying "we can't wait for more years for it to be implemented fully".