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70% test purchasing failures in Blanchardstown emphasises need for training

Reports suggesting that 70 per cent of licensed premises in the Blanchardstown area had sold alcohol to minors in a Gardai ‘sting’ operation there recently appear to be wide of the mark.

Over the May and June Bank  Holiday Weekends Blanchardstown Gardai operated Test Purchasing on just 11 licensed premises in the district and have not specified the breakdown between off-licences and on-licenced premises. Nevertheless, eight of the 11 did sell alcohol to minors and prosecutions are likely to follow.

Despite pub and off-licences in the area being offered subsidised accredited training programmes for their staff via the Safer Blanchardstown initiative over the past three years, only three licensees – O’Brien’s in Mulhuddart, Tyrrelstown and Ashtown as well as the Hartstown Europspar and the Castleknock Hotel & Country Club – have received recognition for sending all of their staff on recognised training courses. This was described as a “disappointingly poor” response from the licensed trade by Blanchardstown Gardai.  

Garda Inspector John Kelly commented, “One of the biggest off-licences in the area sent in his own in-house trainer to be trained but he wouldn’t train his temporary or part-time staff. However it is usually with part-time or temporary staff where the issue of underage drink sales arise”.

In the Hartstown Eurospar every alcohol sale made requires specific information to be input to the till before sale can be completed and without adequate ID, a sale will not take place.

According to the local D15 newspaper Community Voice, in the first four weeks of August, 15,365 transactions involving alcohol or cigarettes took place in the store and of these, 25 customers were refused service as they failed to satisfy staff or produce ID.
The opportunity for licensees to avail of subsidised, accredited training schemes has again been offered to licensees in Dublin 15  as part of this year’s Blanchardstown’s Community Safety Week organised by Safer Blanchardstown.

Secondary purchasing is also of concern to Blanchardstown Gardai but this is much harder to enforce without a major operation being put in place, stated Inspector Kelly.

Blanchardstown Gardai have stated that they are quite happy to point out in court at licence renewal time those off-licensees who  did not attend these courses when they were available and would leave it to the judge to decide if the licence should then be renewed.

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