The Irish government has defended its taxation policy on soft drinks.

At the recent conference of the Beverage Council of Ireland, Council president Edward McDaid called for a cut on the tax. There have been calls for a tax cut on soft drinks to help convince people to switch from alcoholic beverages to soft drinks.

But Justice Minister Michael McDowell said a cut in soft drinks prices would not make people switch from alcohol to non-alcohol alternatives.

McDaid argued that items such as bottled water and juices were basic commodities as well as important items for health.

"We are seeking a high VAT reduction on these, as I do not believe they are luxury items," he said.

But McDowell said Ireland needed to recoup taxes in some way as Ireland enjoyed one of the lowest taxes on wages.