Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Assembly to debate underage drinking

31 March, 2008

The Assembly is to call on the Social Development Minister to 'introduce effective measures to help combat alcohol misuse' tomorrow, Tuesday 1st April.

Speaking ahead of the Assembly debate co-sponsor Jennifer McCann MLA said:

"Let's not just talk about underage drinking - let's do something about it.

"I believe that we need to introduce a number practical community based initiatives to deal with issue of street drinking and underage drinking.

"This includes for example the clear and identifiable marking of carrier bags provided by off-licences so that we can take action against retailers who are selling alcohol to underage drinkers.

"While in some areas on-street drinking is outlawed there are very strong arguments to introduce a ban on all on-street drinking.

Sue Ramsey MLA, who also co-sponsored the motion, added:

"There are a number of areas where we should also look at how alcohol is sold. We need to utilise existing legislation and also look at ending the practice of deep discounting of alcohol, particularly by the supermarkets.

"Strategies elsewhere have also looked for research on how pricing mechanisms can be used to discourage heavy drinking. I believe that we need to look at legislating for alcohol labeling because the voluntary system is not being effective.

"Importantly for Sinn Féin, the lowering of the drink drive limit is also to be reviewed, perhaps to 50mgs - 20mgs for first time drivers. Though, in our pursuit of zero tolerance, we would like to see all drivers being reduced to the minimum." ENDS

Note to Editors

Motion - Combating Underage Drinking

That this Assembly expresses concern at the levels of underage drinking and calls on the Minister for Social Development to introduce effective measures to help combat alcohol misuse, including the clear and identifiable marking of carrier bags provided by off-licences.

[Ms S Ramsey]
[Ms J McCann]

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