FF: Tax wine to pay for suicide prevention

Fianna Fáil wants to introduce an extra tax on alcohol bought in off-licences, to help pay for suicide prevention.

The party has published a bill which would add 90 cent to the price of a bottle of wine. A levy would be applied to all alcohol above 2.8% strength purchased in supermarkets and off-licences.

The money would go towards the National Office for Suicide Prevention, which the party wants to be separated from the HSE.

"In effect, [we're] trying to harness what we believe would be the goodwill of people who, seeking to enjoy themselves responsibly, would contribute a little extra in so doing," said Senator Marc MacSharry.

"In a full year we feel that could raise €120-200m."

The bill is based on a policy document Senator MacSharry published last year.

Among the items contained in the document is the re-introduction of guidance councillor time allocation in schools, and to "consider alcohol and substance abuse as a form of self-harm, and to treat [them] accordingly."

The levy would be calculated using an equation that takes into account the alcoholic strength of the beverage, the volume of alcohol in litres, and the amount in a standard case.

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