CSNA writes to Dept of Health to be included in stakeholder consultation on MUP
The CSNA – Convenience Stores & Newsagents Association – has written to the Department of Health, asking to be involved in stakeholder consultations on the introduction of minimum unit pricing (MUP) on alcohol.
Junior Minister for Public Health Frank Feighan has said he plans to implement minimum unit pricing once Cabinet approves the move to act, without awaiting a similar move from Northern Ireland.
Northern Ireland Health Minister Robin Swann has deferred minimum unit pricing until after the next Stormont assembly elections on 5th May2022.
As research indicates that around 2.700 deaths annually can be attributed to problem drinking, Minister Frank Feighan does not want the Irish government to wait any longer for Northern Ireland to implement MUP (Minimum Unit Pricing).
The Minister would intent to have a brief consultation with stakeholders like publicans and off-licences, and then to move with the planned legislation.
The CSNA has requested to meet with the Minister as one of the stakeholders involved in discussions.
CSNA has never opposed the measures providing for MUP, but has always been concerned that the implementation without a similar alignment by Northern Ireland would lead to an increase in (one-way) cross-border trade, said CSNA’s Vincent Jennings. “The effects are not restricted to consumers in the Republic but also the businesses of those selling alcoholic products, particularly those in counties bordering, or close to, Northern Ireland.
As the representative body for 1,500 retailers in the Republic, most CSNA members hold licences for the consumption of alcohol off the premises.
“We fully understand that legislation lawfully enacted in our country cannot be delayed interminably while awaiting other jurisdictions to adopt similar laws,” Jennings added. “We agree that MUP has the ability to reduce consumption and will assist the smooth implementation of the regulations once they come into force” said Mr Jennings.