The fact that three of the seven retailers targeted on Saturday night, May 20th, had failed the ID test was described as “very disappointing” by Superintendent Daniel Keane of the Garda district responsible for Listowel and North Kerry.
The seven targeted for ‘test purchasing’ by North Kerry Gardai (assisted by 15 to 17 year-old teenagers who were instructed to ask for beer and wine) comprised off-licences, pubs and a convenience store/petrol station.
Three of them – two pubs and a convenience store/petrol station – sold alcohol to the minors and those three premises and their managers will be subject to prosecution.
The Gardai subsequently issued a statement about the test purchasing operation in the North Kerry area (part of a series of such operations it conducts every year), warning that the responsibility is on the licence-holders to check on the age of persons presenting themselves for the purchase of alcohol.
“The onus is on the licence-holders as they have a duty of care as well as a legal obligation,” Suptd Daniel Keane told Drinks Industry Ireland.
“This operation was carried out in conjunction with the Listowel Community Action on Alcohol which is being piloted in Listowel as part of the Listowel Alcohol Strategy 2016-2018,” he’d earlier told the Irish Examiner.
All premises that are licensed for the sale of alcohol must have processes and procedures in place to ensure that young persons are challenged on their age and must have appropriate identification to show that they are over 18 years of age before alcohol is sold to them, he explained.
Such operations are carried out twice if not three times a year, the Superintendent told Drinks Industry Ireland, “We ran one in June 2016 on five premises of which two failed – one pub and one supermarket,” he added, “And we also ran one in September 2016 on seven premises which all passed. We always try to mix it with off-licences, pubs, supermarkets and petrol station/convenience stores”.
In 2016 Lidl was prosecuted for selling rum to a 16 year-old girl as part of a similar sting operation in Listowel the previous year, 2015, but the retailer escaped conviction; after paying €5,000 to the court poor box the case was struck out.