Border based businesses have expressed concern that Government plans to introduce minimum unit alcohol pricing will not be replicated at the same time in Northern Ireland.

Dundalk Chamber says it has always welcomed such a move, but only if it is done on an all-island basis, in the same way as the sugar tax.

Without such coordination, the Chamber says it fears that it will fuel purchases of alcohol by residents of the Republic of Ireland in off licences in Northern Ireland.

This in turn, the Chamber predicts, would result in residents of the south buying other goods and services north of the border, with retailers in border towns such as Dundalk losing out.

It would also result in increased smuggling, which in turn will give minors easier access to alcohol, it claims.

Reports over the weekend in the Sunday Independent newspaper claimed the Government is set to introduce minimum unit pricing within weeks.

The move would set a minimum price of 10 cent per gram of alcohol, in order to reduce consumption and improve public health.

But according to Dundalk Chamber, the porousness of the border will create problems if the plans in the Republic are not mirrored in Northern Ireland.

"We as employers and as concerned citizens will help in any way we can to address all alcohol related matters," the Chamber said in a statement.

"We do not believe that this isolated measure is a step in the right direction," it said.

"The Northern Ireland Health Minister Robin Swann said that such legislation will not be enacted in the North before May 2022 - that is just over a year away."

"Also in the short term as hospitality re-opens in the North ahead of in the south this measure will further undermine the recovery of the hospitality sector in the south," the Chamber added.