He had been waiting for similar legislation to be introduced in Northern Ireland before implementing MUP here to avoid increasing cross-border price differentials on alcohol but in the absence of a functioning NI government, had intimated that he’d go ahead unilaterally.
In the meantime, the National Off-Licence Association has continued to keep up the pressure to commence Minimum Unit Pricing legislation as declared by the Minister when he gave a commitment to seek a revised decision on MUP following the supposed Brexit date of 29th March.
NOffLA has already met a number of politicians to expedite the commencement date including Deputy Louise O’Reilly, Sinn Féin’s Health Spokesperson, who lodged parliamentary questions seeking an update on the Minister’s plans.
And following NOffLA briefings, Deputy Stephen Donnelly, Fianna Fáil’s Health Spokesperson, also asked the Minister for Health when a revised Government decision on this would be taken.
Prior to the latest postponement of Brexit to October this year, NOffLA had also made direct representations seeking clarification on the timing of the introduction of MUP to other TDs including Fine Gael’s Bernard Durkan.
This Spring NOffLA hopes to engage with former members of the now-disbanded Cross Party Group on Alcohol Harm to help progress the introduction of the legislation.
This group of Senators and TDs was active before the introduction of the Public Health (Alcohol) Act and “as the reckless retailing of multiples continues unabated” NOffLA will be urging them to keep up the pressure on Government.
NOffLA is also currently preparing a Submission to the Budgetary Oversight Committee urging a reduction in the rate of excise by 15%.