Senators warn of job losses over minimum alcohol pricing | Irish Examiner

The Government is amending the Public Health Alcohol Bill so that small shops can still show drink products without covering them up, a chief concern among mainly Government senators.

Mr Harris told the Seanad that with current cheap alcohol prices, a woman could reach her weekly recommended intake of drink for €4.90 while a man could hit his for €7.65.

He said he would engage with the industry, politicians, and health professionals over the legislation.

Senator David Norris (Ind) said he hoped politicians would have the guts to stand up to the drinks lobby.

Senator Tim Lombard (FG) raised concerns about minimum pricing for drink here not being introduced at the same time as the North. Instead, he suggested a groceries order could act as an interim measure and put a floor on prices. Timing was the issue, warned the Cork senator.

Nonetheless, fellow Fine Gael senator James Reilly called for leadership on the legislation. He said the abuse of alcohol in society had contributed to many problems, including suicides and rapes.

Minimum pricing is crucial, he warned.“There is a time to follow and a time to lead — let us lead on this.”

Fine Gael senators Joe O’Reilly, Michelle Mulherin, and Kieran O’Donnell and Independent senator Gerard Craughwell were among those who warned about the consequences of introducing the minimum pricing at a different time to the North.

Mr Harris said there was no specific period when the minimum pricing would begin, but added that the Government wants the legislation passed so when the North’s institutions are up and running, the unit cost for alcohol system can be introduced at a later stage.

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Senators warn of job losses over minimum alcohol pricing | Irish Examiner.