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EXPLAINER: What are the new restrictions on the sale of alcohol in Ireland?

EXPLAINER: What are the new rules on the sale of alcohol in Ireland?

Alcohol sales will be disallowed from supermarket voucher schemes while popular multi-buy deals will also be shelved under new legislation coming into effect across Ireland today.

From today, Monday, January 11, regulations under the Public Health (Alcohol) Act come into force which are designed to restrict price promotions of alcohol products.

They restrict the ability of businesses to promote alcohol products at reduced prices and/or award loyalty points for the purchase of alcohol products. Loyalty card points cannot be awarded or used to buy alcohol products.

It will be illegal to sell alcohol at a reduced price or free of charge to any person who buys any other product. Pubs and restaurants who offer a free or reduced-price drink with food may also be affected.

It will be illegal to run reduced price promotions in respect of the sale of alcohol products for 3 days or less.

Retailers and businesses who break the new rules can be fined up to €250,000 fine or face a prison term depending upon the severity of the breach.

The names of those who break the new laws will be kept on record and may be used in determining if a licence to sell alcohol is renewed. 

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly, commenting on the new regulations, said: "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.

"One of the primary objectives of our Public Health (Alcohol) Act is to delay the initiation of alcohol consumption by children and young people. These Regulations will ensure that price promotions which result in the sale of alcohol products at pocket money prices cannot continue.

"Alcohol is not like other grocery products because of its harmful health effects. These Regulations mean that price promotions which apply to other groceries can no longer be used for alcohol products. The coming into force of these Regulations is further progress toward our objective of reducing harmful drinking and the health harms of alcohol consumption in our country."

The Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe signed the new rules into law on January 9.

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