NOffLA calls for MUP to be commenced within first 100 days of next government

Call made in a submission by NOffLA to all government formation negotiating teams, following the implementation of MUP in Wales last week



11 March 2020

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The National Off-Licence Association (NOffLA) has made a submission to the negotiating teams of all political parties calling for a commitment to commence Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) within the first 100 days of entering government.

NOffLA’s call comes as Dublin hosts the sixth Global Alcohol Policy Conference, the world’s leading forum for alcohol policy makers and advocates.

Ireland was selected as the host due to its “strong commitment and recent alcohol policy interventions”. However, NOffLA is dismayed that “the country remains without MUP, despite more than 500 days passing since the Public Health (Alcohol) Act became law”.

The sitting government’s position is to introduce MUP in conjunction with Northern Ireland. This is despite the fact that the Northern Irish government has not yet decided whether it will introduce MUP at all. Ireland will therefore remain without MUP indefinitely.

“It is ironic that Ireland is playing host to the Global Alcohol Policy Conference despite our failure to introduce MUP,” said NOffLA’s government affairs director, Evelyn Jones.

Some retailers in border areas were initially concerned that introducing MUP in the Republic before its implementation in the north could drive cross-border shopping, with customers heading up north for significantly cheaper alcohol.

However, Jones has described such fears as “groundless”.

“We know that Minister Harris is was initially seeking to introduce MUP immediately,” Jones said, “but groundless concerns regarding cross-border shopping were voiced and so government changed its position. We cannot allow economic considerations to take priority over public health. Further delays to implementing MUP in the Republic is facilitating over-consumption of alcohol and costing lives.”

“We must take action now and follow suit with other jurisdictions, such as Scotland and Wales,” she added, “who have successfully introduced MUP. Scotland has reported no increase in cross-border shopping and so concerns regarding MUP are unfounded. We are calling on all political parties to prioritise the implementation of MUP in any future Programme for Government.”



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