CIVIL LAW (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill

(19 Jul 2011)

Part 5 Section 14, Codes of Practice in regard to the sale of alcohol
The Bill contains an important proposal intended to form part of the Government's strategy to promote compliance with licensing law and to combat alcohol-related harm. It provides for statutory support of Codes of Practice in relation to licensing matters with a view to promoting and supporting compliance by licensees. Such a Code of Practice may be prepared following appropriate consultation and published by the Minister or, if the Code of Practice has been drawn up by some other body, be approved of and published by the Minister.
Failure to comply with the provisions of such a Code of Practice by a licensee will constitute a ground on which an objection to renewal of the licence in question may be lodged.


WHAT THIS ACTUALLY MEANS TO OFF LICENCES, WINE SHOPS AND PUBS

No display or pricing of alcohol in windows because:
It is the RRAI (mixed traders) who called on Minister Shatter to enact the Miscellaneous Provisions Bill (Codes of Practice in regard to the sale of alcohol) in order to ensure that mixed traders comply with the RRAI voluntary Code, because if they do not they are afraid that, the Minister for Justice will sign in Section 9 of the Intoxicating Liquor Bill 2008 which they persuaded him to defer at that time.(This means that mixed traders would have to structurally separate their off licences from their grocery etc.

However the RRAI are now seeking to use the acceptance of Codes of Practice as a means to draw specialist alcohol retailers into this, by advocating the removal of the display and merchandising of products in the windows of specialist shops, holding a licence to sell alcohol.
Independent specialist alcohol retailers display alcohol in their windows because that is the only product that they sell!
The RRAI know that:
• they got a serious get out of jail card when the Minister did not sign in section 9
• it is their own voluntary Code that prohibits the display or merchandising of alcoholic products in their windows
• this was not imposed on them by the specialist alcohol retail sector and they now seek to impose it on us?
• this is not a specialist alcohol retail sector issue and that it is their own Code that is flawed
• the specialist alcohol retail sector was legislated for in 2008
• the specialist alcohol retail sector did not get an option to voluntarily enforce 10pm closing at that time
So let’s be clear here. The RRAI have TOLD the Minister in its compliance report that it "expects" that relevant aspects of an approved Code of compliance under the proposed legislation would apply to these off-licences.”
The specialist alcohol retail sector "expect" Minister Shatter to see this move as just another example of the cynical opportunism of the retail giants trying to destroy even more small independent Irish business.
Intoxicating Liquor Bill 2008 (background for context)

The Minister for Justice, Dermot Ahern, T.D. introduced the Intoxicating Liquor Bill 2008 based on recommendations of the Report of the Government Alcohol Advisory Group in which NOffLA participated. This Bill imposed a closing time of 10 o clock on off licences. This was disastrous, in particular for shops in factory towns etc. with shifts ending at 10pm and several off licences went to the wall.
Separation was in the legislation for mixed traders (Section 9) however the retail giants were able to pressure the Minister to defer it and to permit a voluntary code.

RRAI (background for context)

Responsible Retailing of Alcohol in Ireland Ltd. (RRAI), In 2009, the Irish retailing industry established a company called Responsible Retailing of Alcohol in Ireland Ltd. (RRAI) because the Minister for Justice, Dermot Ahern, T.D. deferred Section 9 of the Intoxicating Liquor Bill 2008 (which is the separation of alcohol from grocery products) when the grocery trade requested a Voluntary Code of Practice on the Display and Sale of Alcohol Products instead. Their function
• Communicate the Code to all relevant stakeholders.
• Support participating retailers to the Code with relevant information and training products.
• Measure compliance with the Code by means of an independent retail audit.
• Establish a credible and effective customer complaint procedure regarding the Code.
See excerpt from the latest RRAI report written by Mr. Padraic White, Independent Chairperson

7.3 Promotion and Merchandising of Alcohol Products
by Stand-Alone Off-Licences

As indicated in my First Compliance Report, the RRAI members regard the exclusion of stand-alone off-licences from compliance with an agreed Code as an increasingly apparent anomaly. They have pointed to the fact that, while the Code prohibits the display or merchandising of alcoholic products in the window of mixed trader’s premises, there is no such restriction on stand-alone off-licence stores.

The RRAI expects that relevant aspects of an approved Code of compliance under the proposed legislation would apply to these off-licences.

 


 



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