Retailers will be allowed to display alcohol in three storage units or place it behind a barrier in a compromise deal reached with the Government on new alcohol legislation.
Small traders had sought concessions on the introduction of new regulations in the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill, which sought strict segregation of alcohol from other products in supermarkets and stores. They were concerned about the financial implications and the type and height of structures they would have to construct to separate alcohol from other products.
The proposals also met significant opposition within Fine Gael, with some members saying they unfairly penalised small retailers.
Minister for Health Simon Harris has confirmed an agreement has been reached with retailers under which they will be given three options, including separating alcohol products from all other grocery products behind an opaque barrier of at least 1.2m in height, which could be a turnstile.
There will also be the option of placing alcohol in standalone cabinets, where it must not be visible, up to a height of 1.5m.
The third option is to display alcohol in no more than three units in a store. The Bill originally said retailers could only have two units.
The Bill is to go through the Seanad on Friday. It completed Committee Stage in the Seanad in November, but its move to Final Stages was delayed while Mr Harris engaged in discussions with retailers.
He said on Thursday he was happy agreement had been reached. “I want to see alcohol become less visible in shops, and the measures in this Bill will achieve this.”
Fine Gael Senator Michelle Mulherin, who had raised concerns about the legislation, welcomed the measures.
"Alcohol will not have to be boxed off in the way initially required by the Bill which would have created security and cost headaches for small shops in rural Ireland, and have a disproportionate fallout for them compared to the large multiple retailers."