Saturday 21 September 2019

'Beer Burka' compromise will mean small traders can still display alcohol

Junior Health Minister Marcella Corcoran Kennedy. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Junior Health Minister Marcella Corcoran Kennedy. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Niall O'Connor

Senior Fine Gael figures have predicted a New Year's compromise on the issue of plans to regulate the sale of alcohol.

Junior Health Minister Marcella Corcoran Kennedy has come under intense pressure from members of her own party over plans to effectively shield alcohol from public view.

The proposal is contained in the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill 2015, which is due back before the Oireachtas in the New Year.

Rural TDs in particular have criticised the proposals, arguing that they will negatively impact on small businesses. The proposal has been described widely in Leinster House as the 'Beer Burka".

But the Irish Independent understands that the bill will be watered down to ensure that small sole traders are excluded from the ban. The move is aimed at appeasing businesses in rural communities, whose TDs have been most vocal about the move.

"A compromise will be struck whereby, depending on the size of businesses, the ban won't apply," said a senior Government source.

In an email to Fine Gael TDs and senators, seen by the Irish Independent, Ms Corcoran Kennedy cited several research articles to support the case for further regulation.

"One of the key issues in this debate is how visibly available products lead to impulse purchases. There is evidence from the US that about a third of alcohol purchases are based on impulse, especially amongst young people and also in the wine category," the Offaly TD wrote.

Ms Corcoran Kennedy said she had drawn several conclusions from the research, including the fact that some people were more prone to impulse purchasing than others; and that those who struggled with depression and low self-esteem were at considerably greater risk of substance abuse problems.

Irish Independent

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