"Beer burka" won't apply for small businesses

A compromise looks likely to be struck

"Beer burka" won't apply for small businesses

File photo

Plans to regulate the visibility of alcohol in retail outlets are likely to exclude small traders, senior Fine Gael figures believe.

According to the Irish Independent, compromise will be necessary when the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill 2015 proposal comes before the Oireachtas in the new year. 

Junior Health Minister Marcella Corcoran Kennedy's plans to hide alcohol from the buying public have been heavily scrutinised by her own party, with rural TDs apparently voicing concerns over how the so-called "Beer Burka" would negatively impact local businesses.

The Irish Independent has learnt that the bill will be "watered down" so that small traders will not be subject to the new regulation, with a Government source telling the paper:

"A compromise will be struck whereby, depending on the size of the businesses, the ban won't apply." 

Corcoran Kennedy wrote in an email to Fine Gael TDs and senators:

"One of the key issues in this debate is how visibly available products lead to impulse purchases. There is evidence from the US that about a third of alcohol purchases are based on impulse, especially amongst young people and also in the wine category."

In October, Independent Alliance members raised their own concerns over the bill, arguing that the physical barrier requirement "may cause considerable hardship and financial pressure to small shop owners around the country."