New alcohol regulations come into effect

Price promotions prohibited
  • Deborah Condon

New regulations restricting price promotions on alcohol products have come into effect.

As of January 11, alcohol is no longer included in shop loyalty card schemes. This means consumers will no longer earn loyalty card points when buying alcohol. Also, they cannot purchase alcohol with loyalty card points.

The Public Health (Alcohol) Act 2018 (Sale and Supply of Alcohol Products) Regulations 2020 also prohibits the sale of alcohol products at a reduced price for a limited period, or because it is sold with another product or service.

According to the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, one of the main aims of these regulations is to delay the initiation of alcohol consumption by young people.

"A young person consuming the same volume of alcohol as an adult drinker is at risk of greater harm to his or her health, with a particular risk to the developing adolescent brain. These regulations will ensure that price promotions, which result in the sale of alcohol products at pocket money prices, cannot continue," he commented.

The new regulations were welcomed by Alcohol Action Ireland. According to its head of communications, Eunan McKinney, they will ensure that people "are not further incentivised or rewarded for using alcohol".

"In practise, with so much alcohol now purchased in the retail landscape, these regulations will act as a small impediment to encouraging greater use and so contribute to reducing alcohol harm. Crucially, the ending of short-term promotion, so evident throughout the supermarket multiples, will bring some reason to what has been truly reckless price reductions on alcohol," he said.

Following on from this, Mr McKinney again called for the immediate implementation of minimum pricing of alcohol products, which he said, has been "interminably delayed by Government inertia, yielding to the concerns of the alcohol producers".


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