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Worse than Prohibition’ — Unease grows in Coalition over ‘permanent war on drink’

 3 hrs ago


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There is growing Coalition unease over a ‘permanent war on drink’ amid calls for the Government to reopen so-called wet pubs that only serve alcohol.Micheal Martin wearing a suit and tie© Provided by Extra.ie

It is facing a political backlash over plans to introduce minimum unit pricing on drink without the North doing so at the same time.

Though the legislation enabling them to do this was passed almost three years ago, the enactment was delayed in the expectation that the North would pass similar legislation at the same time to prevent a differential in prices in the separate halves of the country. The idea was to introduce the law simultaneously north and south to prevent a cross-border scramble for cheaper booze on either side of the border.Leo Varadkar, Micheal Martin, Eamon Ryan are posing for a picture: There is growing Coalition unease over a ‘permanent war on drink’ amid calls for the Government to reopen so-called wet pubs that only serve alcohol. Pic: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie© Provided by Extra.ie There is growing Coalition unease over a ‘permanent war on drink’ amid calls for the Government to reopen so-called wet pubs that only serve alcohol. Pic: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

Rather than waiting on the North, the Government here has now decided to move independently on drink pricing.

While the move was welcomed by Alcohol Action Ireland last night, many Coalition TDs are against the measure.

One senior Fianna Fáil TD said: ‘This is an open invitation to people crossing the border [for alcohol], this will bring us back to the era of booze cruises.’a close up of a glass of beer on a table: The comments were made against a backdrop of increasing unease over the reluctance of the Coalition to provide a timeline for the reopening of pubs. Pic: Shutterstock© Provided by Extra.ie The comments were made against a backdrop of increasing unease over the reluctance of the Coalition to provide a timeline for the reopening of pubs. Pic: Shutterstock

Another senior source said: ‘There seems to be a war going on between this government and alcohol, this is worse than the age of Prohibition. We are in a permanent war with drink’

The comments were made against a backdrop of increasing unease over the reluctance of the Coalition to provide a timeline for the reopening of pubs.a person standing next to a bottle of wine in front of a store: Rather than waiting on the North, the Government here has now decided to move independently on drink pricing. Pic: Shutterstock© Provided by Extra.ie Rather than waiting on the North, the Government here has now decided to move independently on drink pricing. Pic: Shutterstock

In a cross-party move Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael representatives were united last week in the call for wet pubs to be given equal treatment with hotels, gastropubs and restaurants.

Alcohol Action, the national independent advocate for reducing alcohol harm, however, praised the plan. It said introducing minimum pricing will give heavy drinkers in particular ‘a chance to modify their drinking patterns and reduce the presentation of acute alcohol episodes into our strained hospital emergency departments’.

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