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You won't be able to use supermarket loyalty points to get discounts on alcohol from today

The enactment of another provision from the Public Health Alcohol Bill 2018 follows the introduction of the so-called “booze curtain” in November.

Image: Shutterstock/Radu Bercan

THE USE OF bonus or loyalty card points to purchase alcoholic drinks at a reduced price is banned from today.

Furthermore, short-term price promotions of alcohol at a reduced price for three days or less is also prohibited under legislation which comes into force today. 

The sale of alcohol at a reduced price or given away for free when sold with another product or service is also now banned.

The provisions come into force today are part of the Public Health Alcohol Bill 2018. 

It follows the implementation in November of the so-called “booze curtain”, where retailers must separate out alcohol from other products in their shop.

However, other landmark pieces of the legislation, such as minimum unit pricing on alcohol and advertising restrictions have yet to be enacted. 

Alcohol Action Ireland said that the enactment of these regulations today is “part of a process to denormalise alcohol as an ordinary grocery product”. 

Its head of communications Eunan McKinney said: “In practice, with so much alcohol now purchased in the retail landscape, these regulations will act as a small impediment to encouraging greater use and so contribute to reducing alcohol harm.

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“Crucially, the ending of short-term promotion, so evident throughout the supermarket multiples, will bring some reason to what has been truly reckless price reductions on alcohol.  

The fundamental action that is required next is the immediate implementation of minimum pricing of alcohol products, which has been interminably delayed by government inertia, yielding to the concerns of the alcohol producers. 

The government has indicated on a number of occasions that it wants to implement minimum unit pricing – which targets the cheapest and strongest alcohol products – at the same time as Northern Ireland. But in recent times, that has shown little sign of becoming a reality in the North. 

The ban on certain alcohol promotions also comes after it emerged last week the government is considering banning the sale of alcohol after a certain time of day

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said work is being done on new public health regulations to strengthen the law around drinking alcohol in public streets to give gardaí more powers of enforcement.

About the author:

Sean Murray

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