The controversial Public Health Alcohol Bill is facing fresh criticism and could now be doubt.
The Bill, which would require retailers to separate alcohol products from other food and drink, was the subject of a meeting between the Independent Alliance and Minister of State Marcella Corcoran Kennedy. The group of TDs expressed strong opposition to the Bill and told the minister that the move is “a step too far”.
The Public Health (Alcohol) Bill will require alcohol to be separated from other products in shops by erecting a physical barrier, through which alcohol products and advertising would not be readily visible to members of the public. Independent Minister of State, Sean Canney and Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran were at the forefront of the criticism. .Mr Canney said it would be “a retrograde step” and simply “inoperable”, while Mr Moran said the proposed laws were akin to a “nanny state”.
The Bill will be debated in the Seanad in the coming weeks and so far, fifty-two amendments to the Bill have been submitted. The passage of the Bill through to the Oireachtas is expected to be “extraordinarily slow”. Fine Gael sources said the pressure on the minister from her own backbenchers is “monumental”, although she was backed up by Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald at the party meeting.
The Public Health Alcohol Bill has been extremely controversial since its inception, especially within the retail community. If passed, the Bill would see small retailers and corner shop owners have to invest thousands of euro into their premises to build barriers to segregate alcohol products from other products.