Irish government to tighten alcohol laws

24 April, 2008

Ireland’s justice minister has proposed legislation to restrict off-trade alcohol sales, as part of new measures to tackle binge drinking and public disorder.

Ireland’s justice minister Brian Lenihan has proposed to restrict off-trade alcohol sales, as part of new measures to tackle binge drinking and public disorder.

The draft legislation – Intoxicating Liquor/Public Order Bill 2008 – was unveiled on Wednesday and proposes a series of restrictions on the sale and promotion of alcohol by retailers.

Politicians, retailers and pressure groups in the UK will be following the bill's progress. A consultation on strategies to reduce alcohol-related harm and disorder in England is expected to be launched this November.

Under Ireland's proposed legislation, which is expected to in force by the summer, drinks retailers will only be allowed to sell alcohol between 10.30am and 10pm and alcohol price promotions will be restricted.

Supermarkets and convenience-led drinks retailers will also have to keep alcohol structurally separate from other goods. Smaller retailers with less room to stock alcohol separately will have to display it behind the counter.

Similar legislation is being considered for Scotland as part of plans to revise the Licensing Act.

Scotland's justice secretary Kenny MacAskill is working to introduce regulations that ban alcohol promotions and ensure stores display alcohol away from food.

The regulations would come into effect with other provisions of the Licensing laws in 2009.




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Richard Hemming MW: beware inverse snobbery

Few things can bring communal pleasure so intimately as wine. Apart from a hot tub, perhaps. Sport can trigger mass jubilation, film gives us shared empathy, but wine has a nigh-unique ability to bestow conviviality among us through a shared bottle – which makes it especially galling that we spend so much time divided over it.

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