People from Ireland spending over thousand pounds at NI’s off-licences to get alcohol

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Consumers from Ireland are travelling to Northern Ireland’s off-licences and spending “up to €3,000” (£2, 583) at a time, stated a report this week.

Following the introduction of minimum unit pricing (MUP) in the Republic, which enforces a minimum cost of at least 10c on every gram of alcohol, shoppers from as far as Carlow, Wexford and Roscommon are travelling to Northern Ireland and crossing the border to procure their supplies.

Consumers are said to be buying in bulk too, buying for four or five members of the one family at a time. It estimated that the increase in cross-border sales would result in a €94 million loss to the Irish Exchequer, Irish Times reported, adding that slabs of beer are the most popular for those travelling cross-Border as they have been most affected by the new law.

“They’re coming with a list and getting their bits and pieces here. You can get a spend of between €200 to €400, up to maybe €2,000 or €3,000,” report quoted a shopkeeper, whose off-licence is located just minutes north of the Border, as saying.

An Ibec economic report showed that a unilateral MUP move would increase the existing price differential on alcohol between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland from 27 per cent to 38 per cent.

Drinks Ireland, the industry body, said it “would also place large pressures on border businesses, and lead to an increase in illicit alcohol smuggling at the border, all at a vulnerable time for our economy”.