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“Tackling our endemic and wholesale misuse of alcohol in this country is absolutely imperative and urgently required.”

Action on Alcohol 

Chairman of the Environmental Health Association of Ireland Mr. Martin Fitzpatrick spoke in favour of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill today.  Mr. Fitzpatrick was commenting in respect of retail organisations who claim that the cost of implementing this requirement will be extortionate and that the resulting expected reduction in sales is unproven.

Contrary to what has been alleged, a study conducted by Neilson Holdings Limited in 2012 found that 31% of all of our alcohol purchases (37% of our wine purchases) are impulse buys.   Impulse sales are an irrefutable fact and visibility, attractive displays and price promotions in the retail store increase impulse purchases.  Mr Fitzpatrick went on to say:

“Retailers are very adept at tactics that encourage impulse purchasing, their trade magazines regularly run articles that provide advice on promotional strategies in the alcohol aisle.  To allege that impulse purchases don’t occur or that they aren’t linked to visibility is disingenuous at best”

Environmental Health Officers will be on the frontline, working with businesses to achieve   compliance with the provisions of product separation, minimum unit pricing and labelling.  EHOs have a proven successful track record in implementing similar legislation in the past including that which applies to the food safety, tobacco and sunbed industries.  Regarding implementation, Mr Fitzpatrick finished with this:

“The legislation is written in such a way as to allow for a myriad of compliance options.  Smaller retailers may require an opaque sticker on a clear glass refrigerator door or a wooden door on a shelving unit.  Larger retailers can place a visibility barrier at the beginning and end of their alcohol aisle or may rearrange shelving.  These options are reasonable and easy to execute.  They cannot be considered extortionate, especially when considering the consequent cost of alcohol misuse.”
Editors Note:
The Environmental Health Association of Ireland, which was founded in 1949, is a non government Association with Registered Charity status and professional body that represents those engaged in the environment and health protection fields. Our primary aim is to promote Environmental Health and to educate, advise and heighten the awareness of Environmental Health issues among the public and the profession.

Our members are primarily drawn from professionals working in the Health Service Executive, Local Authorities and central and local government. Other members work in national government agencies and in private industry.

For further information please contact Ms. Marie Ryan PRO on 0871661911 or email marie.ryan9@hse.ie  For more information about the EHAI visit www.ehai.ie