New regulations restricting price promotions on alcohol come into place today.
From Monday, January 11, the ‘Sale and Supply of Alcohol Products Regulations’ will prohibit loyalty card points from being awarded or used for the purchase of alcohol products.
The regulations also ban the selling of an alcohol product at a reduced price for a limited period or because it is sold with another product or service.
In a statement, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly welcomed the new changes.
“A young person consuming the same volume of alcohol as an adult drinker is at risk of greater harm to his or her health with a particular risk to the developing adolescent brain,” said Mr Donnelly.
“One of the primary objectives of our Public Health (Alcohol) Act is to delay the initiation of alcohol consumption by children and young people. These regulations will ensure that price promotions which result in the sale of alcohol products at pocket money prices cannot continue.
“Alcohol is not like other grocery products because of its harmful health effects. These regulations mean that price promotions which apply to other groceries can no longer be used for alcohol products.
“The coming into force of these regulations is further progress toward our objective of reducing harmful drinking and the health harms of alcohol consumption in our country.”
Last week, the Chief Medical Officer said that any new measures to crack down on people's consumption of alcohol would be "very welcome".
Dr Tony Holohan said that whether it is being consumed in pubs or other indoor settings, alcohol has played a role in the spread of the virus.
"I've said on a number of occasions before - the virus loves alcohol. That is a concern for us.
"The way we have consumed and our pattern of use of alcohol in this country has been a challenge.
"Any measures that would help in terms of the reduction of our consumption of alcohol in the context of this infection would be very, very welcome."