European response at tackling Minimum Unit Pricing is nonsensical

The Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) has expressed its strong disappointment at the opinion set out by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) today. The ECJ said that the Scottish government’s plans to create a minimum unit price for alcohol could impact on the free movement of goods and Ministers must now show that no other measures could be taken to achieve the goal of improving public health.

The VFI is now calling on Minster Varadkar to bring forward the measures recommended by the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill 2015 which deals with the core issues of affordability and availability.

Padraig Cribben, Chief Executive of the VFI said; “Whilst today’s announcement by the ECJ is an initial indication, this is a big blow to the industry and is absolutely nonsensical.

 “The abuse and misuse of cheap alcohol being sold by supermarkets that sell alcohol as a loss leader needs to be urgently tackled, regardless of the measure. 

“As a key industry stakeholder, the VFI has called for action to ensure the safe and responsible sale of alcohol for several years and today’s announcement is a step back in the progress we have made over the last couple of years.

“We are extremely disappointed by the opinion taken by the ECJ today and now call on Minister Varadkar to continue the work done at home to address alcohol misuse. This includes the core issues of availability, promotion and price.”