Convenience Stores & Newsagents Association (CSNA) welcomes acknowledgement from Minister Harris on Public Health (Alcohol) Bill
Reference: Irish Examiner article titled “Small shops exempt from alcohol display rule” by Juno McEnroe, 25 October 2017.
25th October 2017, Dublin
The Convenience Stores & Newsagents Association (CSNA), who represent small and medium sized retailers in Ireland, welcome the acknowledgement from Minister Harris that the current proposal on structural separation in the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill 2015 is flawed and required amendment.
CEO of CSNA Vincent Jennings commented on the report in the Irish Examiner, “We have not been privy to the amendment referenced but what has reportedly been said by Minister Harris (that shops with alcohol in fridge units whose fronts are less than 2sq metres will be exempt from structural separation) will not capture enough small retailers to address the problem that Minister Harris and his colleagues have identified, and will still mean that visual separation is required which is entirely disproportionate and unacceptable to us.”
CSNA find Senator Keith Swanick’s amendments to be a more suitable compromise. These amendments will still require the sale of alcohol to be separated from the remainder of the premises by means of a physical barrier (such as a turn-style), but will not require complete removal of alcohol from public view. Mr Jennings concluded, “We support all other aspects of the Bill and have no appetite to see it further delayed, contingent upon this disproportionate measure being amended. We have sent further proposals to Minister Harris on how this might be achieved and are hopeful that he will take these proposals into consideration”
- Without the amendments tabled by Sen Keith Swanick, the Bill will mean high costs for retailers, particularly small, rural stores around the country, it is not feasible.
- This will be extremely difficult to achieve given in store floor space or will constitute a disproportionate cost on small retailers
- There is also an added stigma and inconvenience on our customers, we don’t want our customers to feel like they are doing something wrong by purchasing alcohol.
- The CSNA wholeheartedly supports the majority of this bill, we recognise that measures need to be taken to curb the consumption of alcohol in Ireland. This provision however does not consider small and medium sized retailers who simply cannot afford to implement structural separation in their store.
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