Wednesday, 19 July 2017
Intoxicating Liquor (Amendment) Bill 2017: Committee and Remaining Stages
I wish to refer to a meeting I had with the vintners. It was not a particularly successful meeting but I had not expected it to be. They mentioned to me that this Good Friday Bill was offered to them as part of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill. While I am speaking from memory, I believe the vintners explained to me that they clearly rejected that because they did not believe the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill would ever see the light of day again. My one regret is that the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill was not passed before this legislation. I must be clear on this; that is Fine Gael's fault. Fine Gael Senators have objected and blocked their own Bill, which is shameful. I am encouraged by the Taoiseach's comments yesterday, but it is beholden on all of us to ensure that the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill, which is a Fine Gael Bill and not a Sinn Féin Bill, is actually passed as it is and not made toothless. If that does not happen, shame on all of us.