Have a look at the 'booze curtains' you may see in Irish shops soon

‘Structural separation’ was debated in the Seanad today
‘Structural separation’ was debated in the Seanad today

New proposals could see alcohol sectioned off and out of sight in shops.

The Minister of State for Health Promotion Marcella Corcoran Kennedy spoke in the Seanad today about introducing what is called ‘structural separation’.

The image below from the Department shows what they might look like in your local corner shop or supermarket.

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If the proposals come in wine could be placed behind curtains while a specific 'beer cave' area may be built to keep beer out of sight.

While there have been a number of objections raised in the Seanad, alcohol abuse groups have been urging the changes come in.

The Department of Health briefing for senators warned that alcohol is “not an ordinary consumer product” but rather is “psychoactive substance with dependence producing properties”.

“The general availability of alcohol is an important indicator when assessing alcohol related harm,” it stated.

“The Public Health (Alcohol) Bill provides for restrictions of the display and advertisement of alcohol products in mixed trade retail outlets.

"The aim is to reduce visibility, accessibility and availability of alcohol,” it added

In the Seanad, Fine Gael senator Paudie Coffey called on Ms Corcoran Kennedy to give a clear definition of what she meant by structural separation as the lack of clarity was leading to concern among small business owners.

The minister said she is asking business owners to visually separate alcohol form the visibility of children and young people.

She said she is not asking that alcohol be kept in an area of the shop which would be separate by a wall or door.