Minister Frank Feighen keen to press ahead on MUP without Northern Ireland
As the representative body for 1,500 retailers in the Republic, the CSNA has written to Department to be involved in stakeholder consultations
16 March 2021 | 0
The Convenience Stores & Newsagents Association (CSNA) has written to the Department of Health to be involved in stakeholder consultations on the introduction of minimum unit pricing on alcohol.
The move follows a report in The (UK) Times quoting Junior Minister for Public Health Frank Feighan of his intention to implement minimum unit pricing once Cabinet approves the move to act, without awaiting a similar move from Northern Ireland.
Robin Swann, the Northern Ireland Health Minister, has deferred minimum unit pricing until after the next Stormont assembly elections in May next year.
However, Minister Frank Feighan reportedly said the Irish government could “not wait any longer for Northern Ireland” to protect problem drinkers, with research demonstrating that 2,700 deaths per year in Ireland are attributable to alcohol.
The Minister added that he “would like to have a short consultation with stakeholders like publicans and off-licences, and then to move with the legislation we have”.
As the representative body for 1,500 retailers in the Republic, the vast majority of whom hold licences for the consumption of alcohol off the premises, the CSNA has requested to meet with the Minister as one of the stakeholders involved in discussions.
“CSNA has never opposed the measures providing for MUP, but have always been concerned that the implementation without a similar alignment by Northern Ireland would lead to an increase in (one-way) cross-border trade, the effects of which are not restricted to consumers in the Republic but also the businesses of those selling alcoholic products, particularly those in counties bordering, or close to, Northern Ireland,” said CEO Vincent Jennings.
“We fully understand that legislation lawfully enacted in our country cannot be delayed interminably while awaiting other jurisdictions to adopt similar laws,” Jennings added. “We agree that MUP has the ability to reduce consumption and will assist the smooth implementation of the regulations once they come into force.”