Dáil Éireann - Volume 474 - 11 February, 1997
Written Answers. - Drink Prices.
Mr. E. Walsh Mr. E. Walsh
237. Mr. E. Walsh asked the Minister for Enterprise and Employment if he will make an immediate order to control the price of alcohol at the level prior to the recent price increases in view of the refusal of a substantial number of publicans to comply with the request to do so, pending the inquiry promised; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3701/97]
Minister for Enterprise and Employment (Mr. R. Bruton) Richard Bruton
Minister for Enterprise and Employment (Mr. R. Bruton): I would refer the Deputy to the reply by the Minister of State responsible for commerce, science and technology to the Adjournment Debate on 30 January 1997. The Minister, Deputy Rabbitte, recalled that he had met earlier that day with representatives of the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) to discuss the increases in the price of beer over the past two months. He went on to point out that: “At the meeting it was established that a minority of Dublin publicans had taken a price increase over the last two months and this number has been rising over the last week. At recent area meetings, the LVA had recommended price restraint at this time. It was noted that in the recent budget, no further excise was imposed. Both the LVA and the Minister agreed to call on these publicans to take immediate steps to bring their price levels back to those obtaining in early November 1996. If this dosen't happen forthwith, the Minister made clear that he will make a price fixing order retrospective to, and feezing prices at, the November 1996 level.”
In the meantime the LVA agreed unanimously at its meeting on 5 February that drink prices by its members would be brought back to its November 1996 level, and the competition authority has initiated an investigation, under section 11 of the Competition Acts, of the Irish drinks market, which shall comprehend a broad range of issues, focusing particularly on barriers to market entry and the impact of the licensing laws.
Dáil Éireann 474 Written Answers. Drink Prices.