“The availability of cheap alcohol is fuelling house parties that the National Public Health Emergency Team say are responsible for the vast majority of infection clusters,” said VFI Chief Executive Padraig Cribben, “If we’re serious about returning to Level Two as soon as possible the Government needs to tackle the glaring anomaly that allows large-scale consumption of alcohol in uncontrolled environments go unchecked.
“The introduction of Minimum Unit Pricing combined with restricting the sale of alcohol in the off-trade would inhibit bulk purchasing of alcohol and send a powerful message that we’re taking a consistent approach to beating the virus.
“If the ongoing closure of the hospitality sector – which are safe, controlled environments with strict Social Distancing guidelines – is to make any sense, the ‘off-trade’ selling of discounted alcohol must stop. In many instances supermarkets are selling alcohol below cost which is directly impacting the ability to fight the virus.
“It’s simply not tenable for Government and NPHET to continually use the availability of alcohol to justify the closure of pubs and restaurants while not implementing any policies that target the consumption of alcohol in private dwellings which is the main infection source. Our members have had enough of this shocking double-standard,” he concluded.