Minister for Justice Alan Shatter launched a review of the voluntary Code of Practice for the display and sale of alcohol in supermarkets, convenience stores and similar mixed trading outlets on 26th October. The deadline for submissions is fast approaching – Tuesday 20th December 2011.
Interested bodies and individuals may submit comments on the Compliance Report for 2011 or, more generally, on the effectiveness of the voluntary approach to structural separation by 20th December 2011. An information note and the third compliance report from the RRAI are available on the Department’s website at http://www.justice.ie/
The Voluntary Code was introduced in 2008 as an alternative to the statutory rules for structural separation of alcohol products in mixed trading outlets which are set out in section 9 of the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2008.
Although the levels of compliance reported in the most recent compliance report was high in the supermarket sector at 95%, and lower in the convenience store sector at 79%, there has been considerable concern that the Voluntary Code itself cannot be effective in achieving the separation of alcohol from other goods due in large part to the Code’s position that:
- “Alcohol products will, as far as possible, be displayed only in a part of the premises through which the customers do not have to pass in order to obtain access to other beverages and food products……
- Alcohol products will be confined to that one part of the premises and will, as far as possible, be separated from other beverages and food products”
Background to the Responsible Retailing of Alcohol in Ireland
The Voluntary Code was introduced in 2008 as an alternative to the statutory rules for structural separation of alcohol products in mixed trading outlets which are set out in section 9 of the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2008. Section 9 addressed the concern and recommendation of the Government Alcohol Advisory Group (GAAG) that alcohol is not an ordinary commodity and that this needs to be reflected in more restricted visibility, display and sale arrangements in mixed trade premises.
Responsible Retailing of Alcohol in Ireland (RRAI) was established and funded by the mixed trading sector to oversee implementation of the Code. It was made clear that non-implementation of the statutory provisions would only continue as long as independent verification of compliance showed that the Code was being implemented effectively across the country, and achieving in effect the objectives of through structural separation. To date, section 9 has not been commenced.