The Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) welcomes today’s decision by Scotland’s Court of Session to grant approval to the Scottish Government to introduce a minimum unit price for alcohol.
The VFI hopes that this decision will encourage our own Government to introduce the same measure here along with other key measures outlined in the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill.
The VFI, as a key industry stakeholder, has called for action to ensure the safe and responsible sale of alcohol for several years and has campaigned for the introduction of minimum unit pricing for a considerable period of time.
The provisions set out in the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill last year under minimum unit price sets out how this might be done and the level at which it will be done. We welcome this but urge speedy implementation.
Likewise, we would also urge speedy implementation with regard to segregation in mixed trading outlets. Our preference has always been for alcohol to be sold separately in a physically segregated area of the supermarket with its own till. The Bill as it stands is short of this but addresses separation which is still a positive step in curbing the irresponsible sale of cheap alcohol. However it needs to be policed appropriately.
The VFI believes that any long term strategic approach to tackling alcohol misuse must address the core issues of availability and affordability.
Ultimately, the proposals contained in the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill are long overdue and we need the Government to proceed with urgency.