Dispute erupts over plans for 'beer curtains' to conceal alcohol in shops

The measure has already been criticised by backbenchers

Dispute erupts over plans for 'beer curtains' to conceal alcohol in shops

File photo | Image: RollingNews.ie

A major dispute has broken out within the Government over plans to force shops to segregate alcohol from other products.

The Independent Alliance has confirmed it believes the plan, nicknamed "beer curtains", is "a step too far".

New public health legislation would require shops to keep alcohol products away from general public view.

The Public Health (Alcohol) Bill 2015 aims to reduce alcohol consumption in Ireland to 9.1 litres per person per year by 2020.

It is also looking to reduce the harms associated with alcohol.

The bill has 29 sections and includes five main provisions - one of which is the "structural separation of alcohol products in mixed trading outlets".

The measure has already been criticised by Fine Gael backbenchers, and the Government is now likely to come under significant pressure to back away from the idea.

The bill states: "Alcohol products will no longer be displayed like 'every day', 'ordinary' products.

"Stores will have to choose to store alcohol either in a separate area of the store, or in a closed cabinet."

Some of the ways this could be achieved are confining the sale of alcohol to a single area in the premises which is separated and which customers do not have to pass through to buy 'ordinary' products.

While it also says alcohol products behind check-out points will need to be concealed.