Retailers have expressed deep concern at Government plans to introduce minimum unit price (MUP) rules for alcohol before similar measures are put in place in Northern Ireland.
Retail Ireland has warned that such a move, without alignment with the North, is likely to lead to a surge in cross-border shopping, with people travelling into Northern Ireland to seek lower prices.
“If consumers travel to Northern Ireland to shop, they will inevitably spend money in a wide range of retail and hospitality outlets, not just in grocery and off-trade,” said Retail Ireland director, Arnold Dillon.
The move would result in the prices of many cheaper alcohol products increasing, something Retail Ireland said it understands and appreciates the health rationale for. But it said the Government had previously committed to not introduce MUP until similar rules were introduced in Northern Ireland, something that is not expected to happen until 2023.