Independent Alliance members raise concerns over new Public Health Bill on Alcohol

Alliance members said structural separation rules may cause considerable hardship for small businesses

The Independent Alliance has joined in on criticism of proposed new laws on the sale of alcohol.

Last night a number of Fine Gael TDs and Senators announced they would not support the upcoming Public Health (Alcohol) Bill due to concerns over the issue of structural separation.

The regulations will demand that alcohol is kept separate or hidden behind a physical barrier in shops.

Alliance ministers and TDs today called on Junior Minister for Public Health, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy to urgently address their concerns on the potential impact the regulations could have on small businesses.

The Taoiseach defended Ms Corcoran Kennedy last night after Fine Gael backbenchers voiced their concerns.

He described structural separation as a “minor issue in a substantial bill” and said common sense needed to prevail.

Alliance members have acknowledged the benefits contained in other parts of the bill but said the physical barrier requirement “may cause considerable hardship and financial pressure to small shop owners around the country.”

The group questioned how the regulations will be policed and raised concerns over the potential costs for shop-owners.