After a two year transition period offered to retailers, Provision 22 of the the Public Health Alcohol Act, 2018 came into force on November 12, 2020.

This provision will see alcohol cordoned off in mixed retail shops to reduce the normalization of alcohol as well as children’s exposure to alcohol marketing.

Under the new law, which will be monitored by the HSE Environmental Health Officers, mixed trade retailers can store alcohol products in a storage unit behind the counter at only one point of sale area and can also display and advertise alcohol products using one of the following three options:

  • A separate area of the shop separated by a physical barrier which has a minimum height of no less than 1.2 metres and through which alcohol and advertisements for alcohol are not visible;


  • Enclosed adjacent storage units on the shop floor in which the products are not visible up to a minimum height of 1.5 metres;


  • A maximum of three adjacent units, each of 1 metre width and 2.2 metres height.

The requirements of Section 22 for mixed trade retailers do not apply to stand alone off-licences, airports or passenger aircraft.

By separating alcohol the policy aims to address the problematic normalization of alcohol in Irish culture and to reduce the demand for alcohol by Irish people. The policy is specifically important now considering the reported spike in Ireland’s alcohol retail during the ongoing pandemic.

We are delighted that this day has finally arrived. These measures provide us all with a new opportunity to end the normalization of alcohol throughout society; alcohol is not an ordinary product and should never be seen as such,” said Eunan McKinney, Head of Communications and Advocacy at Alcohol Action Ireland, as per their website.

Bringing these measures into law has been a very long, and by times, difficult challenge. The significance of placing alcohol controls on a statutory basis, ending a somewhat cavalier self-regulatory approach, is highly important.”

Eunan McKinney, Head of Communications and Advocacy, Alcohol Action Ireland

This policy also promotes children’s right to be protected from aggressive alcohol marketing. Previously Movendi International reported data showing how pervasive alcohol harm is in Irish children’s lives. Furthermore, alcohol has been found to be the most consumed drug by Irish teenagers.

Alcohol Action Ireland urges and looks forward to the government implementing the Public Health Alcohol Act (PHAA) in full, and for the government to honor their longstanding commitment to introducing minimum unit pricing (MUP) in Ireland.


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