Publicans call for government to act on minimum pricing promises for alcohol
VFI members call for the public health alcohol bill currently being drafted to address the sale of cheap alcohol; introduce a ban on price based advertising/promotion and bring in the statutory code of practice for alcohol segregation
12 May 2014
Today, over 350 publicans from all over Ireland are in Westport for the 41st Annual Conference of the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) where discussion centres on the consistent failure of the Department of Health to enact the Health Codes as part of The Public Health Alcohol Bill.
Minister of State at the Department of Health, Alex White has promised that the Public Health Alcohol Bill, currently being drafted, will underpin minimum unit pricing for retailing of alcohol products, regulation of marketing and advertising of alcohol and separation of alcohol from other products.
Padraig Cribben, chief executive of the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland said: "The consistent failure of the government to implement health codes deeply disappoints us. There is a good deal of talk and promises but little action to date. The Public Health Alcohol Bill has been continuously delayed and as we are heading to another summer break, the VFI urges the government to urgently address the sale and promotion of cheap alcohol, introduce the ban on price based advertising and bring in the statutory code of practice in respect of segregation.
He added that as a "massive social and health issue", there is "absolute broad support" for the Minister’s plans, so "there is no need to procrastinate any further".
"Over the years, there has been visible evidence of consistent price reduction in the promotion and sale of cheap alcohol in the supermarket trade," added Cribben. "For example in 2005 a slab of Guinness was promoted at €39.97 and marketed at selling at cost. Today that same product is selling at €24.
"If €39.97 was the cost in 2004, how can €24 not be classed as below costing selling today?"
He also underlined the importance of no more excise hikes, stating: "This industry also needs relief from the current penal rate of excise. At a time when we are enticing more tourists, our country already has one of the highest levels of excise in the EU, for example the combined difference in excise and VAT on a bottle of Irish whiskey is €16.53 in Ireland compared to Spain. The last thing the consumer needs is more tax and I would encourage people to remember that excise is a tax on the public not the publican."
The VFI represents approximately 4,200 publicans throughout Ireland outside of Dublin, representing approximately 50,000 jobs. The organisation’s AGM is taking place in the Castlecourt Hotel, Westport until Wednesday, 14 May. Motions for discussion also include Issues in relation to utility cost, insurance and other overheads. A new president will also be formally elected on Tuesday, 13 May.