The Government is examining the possibility of banning cheap alcohol sales without waiting to move in tandem with Northern Ireland.

Legislation to introduce minimum unit pricing was passed by the Oireachtas in 2018 but the measure has not yet been introduced.

The Government has previously insisted that it would introduce price curbs at the same time as Northern Ireland to discourage people crossing the border to buy cheap alcohol.

But Northern Ireland's Health Minister Robin Swann has now said minimum unit pricing will not be introduced until after the Assembly elections in May next year.

It is understood that Junior Minister with responsibility for public health Frank Feighan does not want to wait another year to introduce the measures.

He will hold discussions with stakeholders including publicans and off-licences on moving sooner.

The Programme for Government committed to implementing minimum unit pricing in consultation with Northern Ireland.

Any change to the policy would require a Cabinet decision.

There is no timeline yet on the discussions.

Alcohol Action Ireland has welcomed the move.