Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe described the 2019 Budget as being “a caring budget”.
It is the hope of Mr Donohoe and the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar that this budget can keep Ireland’s future secure.
The main talking points of this year’s budget include, the rise in the minimum wage to €9.80 an hour, which will be in effect from January, the increase of social welfare payments by €5 from next March and the full restoration of the Christmas bonus.
The price of cigarettes went up as expected by fifty cent, but the price of alcohol was untouched by the Minister for Finance, which came as a surprise to many. However, managing director of the off license chain, Next Door, Brian O’Sullivan was not surprised.
“Obviously I was relieved to hear that they didn’t put up the price of alcohol, but it didn’t surprise me at all,” he said. “With the legislation expected to be put in place in the next three years or so, that is going to put minimum pricing on the sale of alcohol, I assumed that they wouldn’t touch the price of alcohol this year and it is great for us that they didn’t.”
Surprisingly, Mr. O’Sullivan is more optimistic than pessimistic about the pending legislation.
“I actually think it’s going to be great for off licenses. So often us at Next Door nationwide lose out on business to supermarket chains such as Tesco due to their ability to put on deals for alcohol that we simply cannot compete with.
“I think that the minimum pricing legislation, when put into place is going to greatly benefit us. Many people see it as being more convenient to purchase alcohol at off-licenses than supermarkets and only tend to go to supermarkets when there are better deals on offer, so I am hoping when the good deals are no longer possible at the supermarkets due to the legislation, it will see a rise in business for us here at Next Door.”
The Public Health Alcohol Bill, which will eventually bring in the minimum pricing legislation, was only passed last week after over 1,000 days of debate.
Minister for Health Simon Harris called the passing of the bill “a groundbreaking measure” in what many are calling a landmark piece of legislation.
“We are legislating for alcohol as it affects our health,” he said, “we know we have a relationship with alcohol in this country that is not good, that damages our health, that harms our community. This will help to change the culture of drinking in Ireland over a period of time.”