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"Selling Alcohol Cheaper than Bottled Water Is Irresponsible" Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson

2 December, 2008

Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson, Michelle O'Neill MLA (Mid-Ulster has described research findings that some supermarkets are selling alcohol 'cheaper than water' as 'totally irresponsible'.

Michelle O'Neill said:

"Recent years has seen the rise in the number of supermarkets chains slashing the price of alcohol as a means of to get more customers through their doors. In many cases they are selling it as a loss leader.

"A worrying new survey by the charity Addaction has found discounted own-brand alcohol on sale for as little as 23p or 26.1p per unit of alcohol which is less than the equivalent volume of bottled water. I find this practice as totally irresponsible and counterproductive to the good work being done to eradicate binge and underage drinking in society.

"There is an onus on the supermarkets and other suppliers of alcohol to act responsibly in the manner in which they market their product particularly in the lead up to Christmas.

"There is a particular worry that groups of young people are pooling their money to purchase the cheap multi-buy offers of alcohol on offer at leading supermarket chains. We all know too well the social problems associated with the binge and underage drinking culture among our young people. It is causing irreversible damage to their bodies and many are oblivious to the dangers of alcohol abuse"

"This culture of binge drinking is causing a massive strain on the Health Service as can be especially evident in A&E centres every weekend and other times associated with socialising. Worldwide medical evidence shows that alcohol is a drug second only to tobacco use as a preventable cause of death and hospitalisation. I would call on all alcohol outlets but particularly supermarkets to adopt responsible marketing practices and refrain from methods that can glamorise or encourage binge or underage drinking."


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