Addressing the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Health and Children, the chief executive of Meas/drinkaware.ie, Fionnuala Sheehan, said the government should seriously consider the re-introduction of the ban on below cost selling of alcohol. Sheehan said the Groceries Order was effective in addressing below cost selling of alcohol and its re-introduction should also be strongly considered to address concerns about cheap alcohol.
Addressing the calls for a minimum price for alcohol, Sheehan cautioned the committee that a thorough evaluation of the legal, technical and market/consumer impacts of this untested measure needed to be undertaken before it is introduced. She highlighted the unintended consequences of the removal of the ban on below cost selling of alcohol by the then government in 2006 – which Meas had firmly opposed.
“This evaluation has not been undertaken, but is essential to enable government assess the merits of minimum pricing and to ensure unintended negative consequences,” Sheehan added. Speaking earlier today, she highlighted an anomaly in the law relating to the need for 18-20 year olds to have ID when buying alcohol and said proof of age should be mandatory for anyone buying alcohol.