New laws will be enacted today regarding the sale of alcohol in supermarkets, which will prevent products from combating the alcohol culture in Ireland.
The new law, introduced under Section 22 of the Public Health Alcohol Act, 2018, will see mixed-sale shops forced to stop or bar liquor from the rest of the store.
The main purpose of the legislation is to reduce the attraction of alcohol to children and young people.
Junan McKinney, head of communications and advocacy at the lobby group Alcohol Action Ireland (AAI), said: “We are delighted that this day has finally come. These measures give us all a new opportunity to end the normalization of alcoholism throughout society.
“Alcohol is not a normal product and should never be seen as such.
“Bringing these measures into law is a very long and sometimes difficult challenge.
“The importance of legally restricting alcohol, and ending a somewhat self-regulating approach, is very important.”
The campaign group collectively stated that “these measures are another important step in addressing the relationship between alcohol and our children by reducing contact with children in daily life.
All supermarkets must follow strict procedures when selling liquor from today.
Stores can only sell alcohol in three situations. The first option is to set up a physical barrier that is not less than 1.2 meters high and sees no alcohol ads.
Alternatively, supermarkets can include nearby storage units on the shop floor. Again, do not see alcohol at a height of at least 1.5 m.
The third option is to use a maximum of three adjacent units – 1 m wide and 2.2 m high each.
McKinney said: “We want to fulfill the government’s promise in the plan for the government to fully implement the Public Health Liquor Act and to honor their long-term commitment to a minimum unit pricing.”
The new rules will be monitored by HSE environmental health officials.
The new restrictions on mixed business retailers do not apply to off-licenses, airports or airlines.
The AAI welcomed the legislation and said, “It shows that the state is now making serious strides in reducing the demand for alcohol.
“Buying alcohol is not the same as buying regular groceries,” the group added.
AAI is hosting a webinar today titled ‘No Product Normal’ to mark the new rules coming into force.
Presented by Professor Niamh Short of the University of Edinburgh and Dr. of the College of Business at the Technological University, Dublin. The online event will also include a short panel discussion with contributions by Olivia Freeman and Kathryn Reilly, Policy Manager for the Irish Heart Foundation.
Other reasons for the new legislation include “reducing alcohol consumption to 9.1 liters of pure alcohol per person per year and reducing the harm caused by alcohol abuse,” the HSE said. Ensures that the supply and price of alcohol are controlled and regulated to reduce the risk and incidence of alcohol-related harms. ”