Talbot Off-Licence closed for underage sale

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The Talbot Off-Licence in Dublin’s north inner city was ordered closed down for two days recently by the District Court after owner Dermot Maher was convicted of selling alcohol to an underage boy in a Garda sting operation.



11 July 2013

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Dermot Maher was also fined €750 after it emerged that a male minor (with a female garda) had entered the off-licence at 33 Talbot Street in Dublin 1 at 8.40pm last October and the boy had bought four cans of lager.

The Garda sting formed part of an ongoing operation run from Store Street Garda Station.

This form of test-purchasing was introduced by the former Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern in 2010. Under the scheme young people aged from 15 to 17 are recruited by Gardai using the force’s contacts with schools, youth clubs and other organisations.

The young people and their parents must consent to taking part and are unpaid.
During test purchases, a young person goes into a pub, club or off-licence and tries to buy alcohol while being watched by an undercover garda.

If they are sold alcohol, they walk towards the exit where they surrender the drink to a second garda waiting at the door.
When the licence-holder is prosecuted and the case goes to court, both gardai give evidence.

The young person who carried out the purchase will, in most cases, not be needed to attend court. The teenagers cannot be made to look older by styling or make-up nor can they lie about their age and if they’re refused service they must abandon the test purchase without coaxing staff into a sale.

“This operation will be ongoing throughout the Summer and gardai are satisfied at the serious view that the courts take of this type of activity,” commented a senior Garda source, “If people who run these premises sell alcohol to underage teenagers, they risk being firmly out of pocket if they are caught.”

Licence holders who break the law can be prosecuted and fined up to €5,000 and could have their premises closed for up to 30 days.



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