MUP just awaits Cabinet approval

With the Oireachtas finally passing all stages of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill in the Seanad recently, the Minister for Health Simon Harris TD has indicated that he intends to quickly implement the Bill’s provisions to “address the harmful effects of alcohol consumption and to improve the health and wellbeing of all of us”.

For instance the Minister expects to introduce Minimum Unit Pricing as soon as he can get Cabinet approval instead of waiting to introduce it in tandem with Northern Ireland. With the Assembly and Executive there still out of action, he told the Dáil recently, “I don’t believe we can wait forever”.

Apart from MUP, the Bill includes provisions for labelling of alcohol products with cancer and other health warnings as well as ingredients and calories; a segregation and reduction in the visibility of alcohol in multiples and convenience stores and a prohibition on advertising before 9pm as well as a prohibition on advertising in certain places including within 200 metres of schools and playgrounds, in cinemas, or on children’s clothing – for which the clock would start ticking immediately for the one-year run-in on  these aspects, stated the Minister.

Otherwise a two-year lead-in will be put in place for the Bill’s provisions on the separation/reduced visibility of alcohol products and advertisements in licensed premises.

The ban on advertising alcohol during certain events and a restriction on sponsorship is likely to be subject to a three-year lead-in time as will the requirement for a cancer warning label to be placed on alcohol products once notified to the EU (and subject to final EU approval).

It’s expected that drafting up the provisions for the regulations will begin immediately.




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