Call for New Code for the Appropriate Merchandising, Sale and Promotion of Alcohol
The two groups representing publicans in Ireland, the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) and Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI), today called on the Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence to lead the development of a new all encompassing code for the responsible sale and promotion of alcohol which would be applied equally to both the off trade and on trade.
The current codes with respect to alcohol promotions are not applied equally to the on trade and off trade and do not reflect current alcohol purchasing habits. Both organisations’ strongly believe there is an overwhelming case for the development of a new code as the public perceive the current codes as applying to the on trade only.
The Responsible Retailing of Alcohol in Ireland (RRAI) code as it applies to the off trade lacks any meaningful sanctions, does not deal with alcohol promotions whatsoever and is ambiguous, at best, in respect of merchandising. There is no public awareness of this ineffective code which is very narrow in focus.
The VFI and LVA will work closely with the Minister and all relevant stakeholders to agree new guidelines which would be applied equally to both the on trade and off trade.
Specifically the two organizations are requesting the Minister to commence, without delay, the regulations set out in the 2008 Intoxicating Liquor Act, particularly those in relation to the structural separation of areas for the sale of alcohol in supermarkets and the regulations regarding the promotion and sale of alcohol across all channels.
In the absence of any code which applies equally to all premises that sell alcohol, the VFI and LVA are reluctantly withdrawing their support of the current MEAS (Mature Enjoyment of Alcohol in Society) promotional code and in line with this decision, are resigning from MEAS itself. This difficult decision has been taken after lengthy deliberation but the VFI and LVA believe they had no alternative due to the inequities of the current situation.
Both publican organisations’ strongly believe that their actions will help bring a single focus to this issue and will encourage a new wider ranging, equitable and credible code.
In the interim, both organisations continue to encourage publicans not to engage in any promotions which could result in the excessive consumption of alcohol and to continue to abide by all the demanding legal requirements and laws governing the responsible sale of alcohol in the on trade.
The over whelming majority of Publicans in Ireland have always traded responsibly and can be relied on to continue to do so.
The LVA and VFI looks forward to playing an active role in developing a new code for the promotion and sale of alcohol that reflects current purchasing trends and requires all those who sell alcohol to abide by the same codes and practices.