Retailers are to agree on a voluntary code of practice for the display of alcohol in shops, according to Fianna Fáil TD Dara Calleary.
Draft legislation announced by the Government in April proposed to limit the sale of alcohol and wines in supermarkets and convenience stores to structurally separated areas.
This proposal stemmed from recommendations made by the Alcohol Advisory Group which stated that the restriction of sale and display of alcohol products to a separate area would help in the Government’s campaign to reduce over-consumption of alcohol.
But this week in the Dáil, the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Dermot Ahern TD, said that he is open to revising this measure, following discussions with trade bodies representing supermarkets and convenience stores.
“I spoke to Minister Ahern about the proposal myself and I am happy to see that he is open to retailers drawing up and operating a voluntary code of practice in this regard,” said Deputy Calleary.
“Many shopkeepers that I spoke to were concerned about the financial burden involved in restructuring their premises for the purpose of providing a structurally separated area. The representatives that Minister Ahern spoke with proposed to draw up a voluntary code of practice which would cover issues such as location and display of alcohol within premises, signage, warning signs, in-store advertising, and staff training standards.
“The Minister said that if the the code of practice is agreed on by all, and if an independent report was done annually to see that its recommendations were implemented, he is open to this area being self-regulated by retailers.
“He also said that he intended to make wine exempt from the measures, as it is generally accepted that purchasing wine requires that the customer is able to browse, and inspect the bottle labels.
“I welcome the Minister’s open approach to this issue. I believe the measures he is taking to deal with the problem of alcohol misuse are necessary and helpful, but it is important that we listen to and work with the people affected by new laws, in this case the retailers themselves,” concluded Dep Calleary.