Businesses in Donegal have raised serious concerns over minimum unit alcohol pricing and cross-border shopping.
As the Republic plans to set a minimum price of 10 cent per gram of alcohol in the coming weeks, the Northern Ireland executive is not planning to follow this year.
The issue has prompted worry among border businesses, who fear they will lose out to stores north of the border.
Sinn Féin’s Chief Whip Pádraig Mac Lochlainn TD said the policy needs to be rolled out on an all-Island basis, otherwise it will undermine its purpose.
Deputy Mac Lochlainn TD said his party have written to the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, asking him to engage with his counterpart in the Northern Assembly, Robin Swann to work towards an all-island roll out of minimum unit alcohol pricing.
The Donegal TD, Teachta Mac Lochlainn said: “Sinn Féin supports implementing minimum unit pricing of alcohol products across the island. It has a positive role to play in addressing problem drinking and reducing health inequalities.
“However at the time the legislation was passed, it was understood that this would be rolled out on an all-island basis.
“This was to avoid a scenario where the price of alcohol in one jurisdiction would be significantly cheaper than the other – a scenario that would clearly disadvantage businesses in one jurisdiction and seriously undermine the purpose of the legislation in large parts of the country.
“Unfortunately it appears that what was to be a ‘partnership approach’ from the Ministers for Health on this island has not materialised. As is the case with the Covid-19 pandemic, cooperation between the Health Ministers on this island is not at an acceptable level.
“We are calling on the Minister of Health, Stephen Donnelly to outline what efforts he has made to ensure that minimum unit alcohol pricing will be rolled out at the same time across the island, as originally intended.”