NOffLA calls on next government to prioritise minimum unit pricing

Julie Cullen, Tommy Cullen and Paul McKenna of Jus de Vine, Portmarnock, winners of NOffLA National Off-Licence of the Year 2020

The National Off-Licence Association has taken the occasion of the National Off-Licence of the Year Awards 2020 to call on the next government to introduce minimum unit pricing as a matter of urgency following the general election next month.

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21 January 2020 | 0

The National Off-Licence Association has taken the occasion of the National Off-Licence of the Year Awards 2020 to call on the next government to introduce minimum unit pricing as a matter of urgency, following the general election next month. The call was made at the annual Off-Licence of the Year Awards 2020, which took place at the Honorable Society of King’s Inns on Monday evening.

Now in its twenty-fourth year, the Off-Licence of the Year Awards recognise and showcase excellence in the independent off-licence sector, which represents 315 specialist businesses throughout the country. The awards highlight those retailers that offer exceptional service to customers and demonstrate excellence in retail standards.

Speaking at the awards, NOffLA chairman, Gary O’Donovan said the annual NOffLA Awards highlight the expertise of the independent off-licence sector. “This event showcases the benchmark of personal service in our industry,” he said, “as well as the top-quality products offered by our highly trained, specialist members.”

NOffLA members have expressed concerns regarding the scale of deep discounting by supermarkets during the Christmas period as well the delays in commencing Minimum Unit Pricing more than 14 months since the Public Health (Alcohol) Act became law.

“As socially conscious independent retailers,” O’Donovan said, “NOffLA welcomed the Public Health (Alcohol) Act in 2018. Despite the passage of more than a year, however, we have seen little action to address the critical issue of deep discounting by supermarkets.

“Our members are concerned by the failure of this Government to commence Minimum Unit Pricing, and the serious health risk this poses to consumers,” he added. “In light of this, we are calling on all political parties to make a clear commitment in their manifestos to immediately commence Minimum Unit Pricing and honour the spirit of the Public Health (Alcohol) Act by ending reckless alcohol retailing.”

The awards, saw Jus de Vine awarded ‘National Off-Licence of the Year 2020’, O’Donovans Off-Licence Group win ‘Responsible Retailer of the Year 2020’ and Derren Green of Molloys Liquor Store, Ballyfermot, win ‘RTC Online Trainee of the Year 2020′.

Judging for the awards began in June 2019 with the ongoing judging process culminating in a blind wine tasting which involved participants answering questions about the unidentified wines. Final awards were allocated following this process.

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