Health Minister Leo Varadkar has downplayed the impact that structural separation of alcohol products will have on retail businesses, saying "it will not bankrupt any small to medium shop to put in a partition."
"I am sure they do that type of work all the time as part of their general trade," he added.
Varadkar said that the structural separation of alcohol proposals contained in the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill are different to those proposed by in 2009 "by the then Minister, Dermot Ahern, because they were probably too onerous. They required separate entrances, separate tills and large physical barriers. We are not going that far."
He added that it is the government's intention to "go ahead with minimum pricing at the same time as Northern Ireland," noting that "it would be totally counterproductive if people just went North of the Border."
Commenting on the measures, Ross Mac Mathúna of the Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland said in The Irish Times that the "Public Health (Alcohol) Bill in its current form runs the risk of doing little to reduce alcohol misuse, while threatening the 92,000 jobs supported by the drinks industry across Ireland."
He suggested that following its introduction, "new product development will decrease or stop altogether, [and] the market will simply leave this country – taking with it the most creative and well-paid jobs in the sector."
On structural separation, Mac Mathúna said that the Bill's requirements on "how alcohol is displayed in shops undermine the sensibilities of people, and what is being suggested with regard to labelling will damage producers that are trying to get a foothold in the export market."
© 2015 - Checkout Magazine by Stephen Wynne-Jones