People on social welfare should not be allowed buy alcohol, says Senator

Minimum Unit Pricing is to be introduced here from January

Alcohol, minimum pricing, David Norris, social welfare, binge drinking, Ireland

A customer looks at alcohol on the shelf at a supermarket | Image: Rui Vieira / PA Archive/PA Images

Senator David Norris has been accused of hypocrisy after suggesting that people on social welfare payments should not be allowed to buy alcohol.

The Independent Senator says he welcomes the introduction of minimum pricing for alcohol announced earlier this week.

But he says he does not want to fund a round of drinks for people on welfare with his tax money.

His comments come as Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) is to be introduced from January - meaning a 'floor price' is being set, beneath which alcohol cannot legally be sold.

A can of beer will cost a minimum of €1.95 under the new legislation, while a bottle of wine will cost around €8.60 and a bottle of supermarket own-brand vodka could more than double in price from €13 to €28.

Senator Norris told Newstalk Breakfast something needs to be done to tackle our binge drinking culture.

"I hear people on the wireless saying 'Oh what about the poor people on the social welfare and they'll be deprived of their few drinks' - I don't spend my tax dollars to buy drinks for people on social welfare" he said.

"I don't think tax is for people to be drinking all the time - and I see them all around my area buying slabs of drinks" he added.

However the remarks have been criticised by the Irish National Organisation for the Unemployed (INOU).

Its coordinator John Stewart says the same principle should then apply to politicians, because their wages come from taxes too.