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Home > Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 114 - Alcohol sales legislation [48496/14].

[Oireachtas] Dail Eireann debate. Written answer 114 - Alcohol sales legislation [48496/14]. (17 Dec 2014)


114 Deputy John Lyons asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when the consultation process will begin for the draft statutory code of practice relating to the sale and display of alcohol in mixed trading premises; if she will provide an update on plans for the structured separation of alcohol from other products in such premises; and if the draft code will include measures to separate alcohol in this regard. [48496/14]

115 Deputy John Lyonsasked the Minister for Justice and Equality if the new statutory code of practice relating to the sale and display of alcohol in mixed trading premises will include measures to restrict the advertising of bulk alcohol offers and below cost alcohol in large quantities. [48497/14]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald):  I propose to take Questions Nos. 114 and 115 together.

The position is that my Department is currently finalising the content of the draft statutory Code of Practice on the display and sale of alcohol products in mixed trading outlets. I hope to be in a position to launch the consultation process on the contents of the Code, as required under section 17 of the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2011, in the coming weeks. It is intended that the statutory code will operate for a two year period, after which its effectiveness will be jointly evaluated by my Department and the Department of Health. The results of this joint evaluation will inform any future decision on implementing the statutory provisions on structural separation which are set out in section 9 of the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2008.

With regard to volume-based alcohol promotions, the position is that section 16 of the 2008 Act contains separate provisions for the making of regulations concerning the sale, supply and consumption of alcohol products. From the outset it was recognised, however, that a joint North/South approach to restricting alcohol promotions would be desirable; otherwise, the effectiveness of any measures introduced in this jurisdiction could be undermined by means of increased cross-Border shopping if similar measures were not introduced in Northern Ireland. During discussions in early 2012 between my predecessor and the Minister for Social Development in Northern Ireland, the desirability of implementing a joint North/South approach to restricting certain 'volume-based' alcohol promotions was agreed.

The Department of Social Development in Northern Ireland subsequently launched a consultation process on draft proposals to restrict bulk purchases of alcohol products in supermarkets and other premises with off-licences. Arising from this consultation process, and following the expression of concerns by the Assembly's Social Development Committee, the Minister announced that he had decided not to proceed with restrictions on bulk purchases from off-licences.

As regards future action, the position is that the Government has agreed that the forthcoming Public Health (Alcohol) Bill will give Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) statutory enforcement powers in relation to regulations made under section 16 of the 2008 Act. Following enactment of this legislation, I will consider how best to proceed with the making of such regulations. In this context, I remain conscious that the effectiveness of any future restrictions on volume-based promotions in this jurisdiction could be undermined by the lack of corresponding measures in Northern Ireland.

In so far as 'below cost' selling is concerned, the position is that the Government has approved an extensive package of measures to deal with alcohol misuse in response to the Report of the Steering Group on a National Substance Misuse Strategy, including minimum unit pricing measures which will be included in the forthcoming Public Health (Alcohol) Bill.

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