Alcohol test scheme bizarre, says FG

  • Post category:News

Plans to use children to carry out test purchases of alcohol so gardaí can assess what bars, clubs and off-licences are selling drink to minors have been described by Fine Gael as “bizarre and ill-conceived”.

The party’s spokesman on justice, Alan Shatter TD, said using boys and girls aged 15-17 years to test licensees’ compliance with the law amounted to “entrapment” and were exploitative of the young people involved.

“Whilst the guidelines for this hare-brained scheme purport to recognise that ‘the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration’, they substantially ignore the stress and dangers that could be caused to a young person used as a ‘test purchaser’ of alcohol,” Mr Shatter said.

He added the consent of both parents, and not only one as is envisaged, should be required before a teenager could volunteer to carry out test purchases on behalf of the Garda.

Mr Shatter said young people may be put through the stress of having to give evidence in court when licensees who sold drink to them are prosecuted. He believed teenagers may agree to volunteer for the scheme out of bravado but may then be put under intense pressure by their peers.

They may face being beaten up when their role as test purchasers emerged, and may also have to contend with a very hostile reaction from licence holders caught selling drink to them.

Mr Shatter called on Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern to abandon the scheme, which is due to begin next month.

Under the scheme, young people aged 15-17 years will be recruited by gardaí to carry out test purchases.


Source: The Irish Times, 23/09/10
Journalist: Conor Lally