The Irish cabinet is expected to approve plans on Minimum Unit Pricing of alcohol within the next two weeks.
Latest research revealed that only six percent of the Northern Ireland population consumes 44 percent of the alcohol, predominantly at home. The negative consequences are placing a huge strain on the health and social care system here, whilst many pubs and bars are closing their doors.
Reacting to the news, Colin Neill, Chief Executive of Hospitality Ulster said: “Both the current and future potential of the hospitality sector is being damaged with outdated legislation due to the lack of a functioning government in Northern Ireland.
“Again, the Republic of Ireland is taking a progressive approach in tackling harmful drinking with the introduction of MUP, whilst at the same time recognising the importance and responsible role the pub and restaurant industry plays in society and the tourism offer.”
According to Colin, the Irish government is being responsive to one of the biggest health issues facing society, and must therefore be commended in its plans to introduce a ban on below-price selling of alcohol by mid 2020.
Colin added: “There is a clear need for Northern Ireland to modernise its liquor licensing legislation and introduce Minimum Unit Pricing to reflect the needs of the modern market place and tackle the misuse of alcohol. We simply cannot continue with no decisions being made and the political paralysis stopping our industry from growing and developing. We are regressing through inertia and having to live with the consequences of the fact that the Assembly and Executive isn’t in operation.
“Minimum Unit Pricing must form part of the overall legislative change that needs to happen in Northern Ireland.”