Publicans urge Minister to expedite Public Health (Alcohol) Bill

The Vintners’ Federation of Ireland today (9th November) says it fully supports the provisions of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill and urges Minister for Health Simon Harris to press ahead with implementation of the Bill.

Padraig Cribben, Chief Executive, VFI, states: “The Public Health (Alcohol) Bill is a serious piece of legislation that all medical experts agree will save lives. As publicans we fully support a Bill that will reduce misuse of alcohol through the introduction of minimum unit pricing. This will abolish the sale of ultra-cheap alcohol in supermarkets.

“There is a misconception that the drinks industry is totally opposed to the Bill. In reality, the pub sector along with independent off licences, who together form the major part of the drinks industry, support the Bill.”

Mr Cribben also addressed the impact the Bill would have on smaller retail outlets.

“Much has been made of the effect segregation of alcohol from other products will have on small retail outlets. This is a cynical move, initiated and supported by large retailers to distract from the fact they continue to use cheap alcohol as a loss leader and footfall driver.”

The VFI Chief Executive says the delay in progressing the Bill is frustrating and action needs to be taken.

“For two years the Bill has been discussed, debated and dissected with little or no progress. It’s now time for the Minister to step up and take decisive action,” he concluded.