I propose to take Questions Nos. 276 and 277 together.
The position is that section 17 of the Civil Law (Miscellaneous) Provisions Act 2011 provides that the Minister for Justice and Equality may prepare and publish a code of practice or approve a code of practice drawn up by any other body for the purpose of setting standards for the display, sale, supply, advertising, promotion or marketing of intoxicating liquor and such code may apply as respects a class or classes of intoxicating liquor, a class or classes of licensed premises, or a type of licence.
A voluntary code of practice on the sale and display of alcohol products in mixed-trading premises was drawn up and agreed between the mixed trading sector and the Departments of Health and Children and Justice, Equality and Law Reform as an alternative to section 9 of the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2008. The Code includes provisions in relation to advertising of alcohol products by mixed trading outlets. A new body — Responsible Retailing of Alcohol in Ireland Ltd (RRAI) — was established by the mixed trading sector to oversee implementation of the Code. On receipt of the third Compliance Report on the RRAI Code in October last, I launched a public consultation process inviting views on the Report and, more generally, on the voluntary approach to implementing structural separation of alcohol products in such premises.
Arising from the consultation process, I am not in favour of retaining the voluntary RRAI Code. The choice, therefore, lies between implementation of section 9 of the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2008 or implementation of a statutory code of practice under section 17 of the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2011. I expect to be in a position to seek Government approval for my proposals in relation to future arrangements for the display and sale of alcohol products in mixed trading outlets in the coming weeks.
With regard to codes of practice more generally the Report of the Steering Group on a National Substance Misuse Strategy, which was published earlier this year, includes a recommendation in relation to the development of legislation and statutory codes of practice on the advertising of alcohol. I understand that this recommendation is being considered by the Department of Health in the context of the development of an Action Plan to address the Steering Group's recommendations.
The position regarding section 16 of the 2008 Act is that draft regulations to restrict certain alcohol promotions have been drawn up but have not been made to date pending agreement on a joint North/South approach to restricting such promotions. During discussions earlier this year with the Minister for Social Development in Northern Ireland, Nelson McCausland, MLA, we reached agreement on the need to develop a joint North/South approach to restricting such promotions and on the desirability of having the necessary arrangements in place by the end of this year.