The Times, 30 October: Booze curtain exemption ‘is meaningless’

The Times, 30 October: Booze curtain exemption ‘is meaningless’

October 30th, 2017

Shopkeepers have said the proposed exemption from “booze curtains” is meaningless as it will only apply to a handful of shops.

An amendment added to the Public Health Alcohol Bill will allow shops using less than one cubic metre of shelf space for alcohol to display it without a covering. This will affect only the smallest corner shops and is not enough to allow the average convenience store to display alcohol without a cover, according to the Convenience Stores and Newsagents Association of Ireland (CSNA).

Vincent Jennings, chief executive of the CSNA, which represents more than 1,200 shopkeepers, said that the amendment would affect less than three dozen of its members. The CSNA has estimated that the cost of implementing what is required in the bill will be between €5,000 and €40,000 a shop.

“If it took them a year to come up with a way to give small retailers some solace, then it was a wasted year,” Mr Jennings said. “This is not just about a curtain, it is about taking everything off the floor and putting it behind closed doors.”

Mr Jennings said that the government should provide evidence to support the claim that restrictions in shop displays would contribute to a reduction in alcohol consumption. “We are selling a legal product in a legal manner. Our members have gone through the correct methods to sell these products and it is unfair that we are being targeted while off-licences and bars are not,” he said.

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