Retail Ireland: Alcohol Bill costs “unsustainable”

The Alcohol Bill is set to come before the Oireachteas again on November 8
The Alcohol Bill is set to come before the Oireachteas again on November 8

Retail Ireland has taken aim once again at the Alcohol Bill, outlining the unmanageable cost to retailers it would present, and also offering a more manageable and less costly alternative.

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7 November 2017 | 0

As the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill is brought before the Dáil once again, Retail Ireland has expressed its concern that proposals contained within the bill will incur huge, unmanageable costs on retailers at a time when they are struggling to get back on their feet.

In a statement, Retail Ireland acknowledged the importance of tackling Ireland’s excessive alcohol consumption, and the off-trade’s responsibility to contribute to this. However, it repeated the lack of evidence to suggest the measures outlined in the Bill would have the desired effect – that is to mitigate the effects of alcohol abuse.

Instead, the sheer cost of the refits and revisions to layout would cost the retailers in excess of €20,000 or  more. This, the group says, is a burden the sector simply cannot carry. Retail Ireland estimates the aggregated cost across the industry to be up to €70m.

As an alternative to the Bill, Retail Ireland proposed a remodeling of the Responsible Retailing of Alcohol guidelines, from a voluntary code to a statutory one. It would include provisions around the display and advertising of alcohol, along with proof of age during the purchasing process.

“Alcohol is not an ordinary product,” said Burke, “and the rules of the RRAI code already ensure that it is not displayed or promoted as such. Making this a statutory requirement would remove any neccessity for the introduction of disproportionate and overly burdensome, complex new regulations for the retail sector in Ireland.”

 

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