David Stanton TD, Chairperson of the Oireachtas Justice Committee, has slammed supermarkets that sell alcohol as a loss leader, saying that "by making it available at a very low price [they] are acting very irresponsibly and are doing terrible damage to our society."
The Fine Gael TD for Cork East called for an immediate ban on the "advertising of special offers and promotions of cheap alcohol", as well as calling for segregation in stores between alcohol and everyday groceries to be enforced.
"As a society we have been talking around the issue for long enough. We need to take immediate action to increase controls on the sale of alcohol," he said. "If we cannot, for legal reasons, immediately prevent alcohol being sold at dangerously low prices we should take every possible measure to curtail the availability and attractiveness of cheap alcohol."
NOffLA welcomed Stanton's comments, calling them a 'key step in the bid to tackle the irresponsible retail and promotion of cheap alcohol'.
“I am encouraged to see the Chair of the Justice Committee’s recognition that the retail and promotion of alcohol at ultra-cheap prices is not only extremely dangerous and irresponsible, but requires immediate action," said Evelyn Jones, Chairperson, NOffLA. “NOffLA was disappointed with the delay of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill and Minimum Unit Pricing to next year, but has long maintained there are many other issues that need addressing without new legislation, such as the need to structurally separate alcohol from other products and enact a strict code of conduct for the sale and promotion of alcohol”. She added: “What is required is the acceptance that immediate and urgent action is desperately needed, as is the political will to do what is necessary. Today’s statement represents a key step in this process and we look forward to working with the Justice Committee in any way we can to achieve this goal”.