NOffLA allays structural separation concerns

Concerns of small family retailers, worried about the expense of having to install structural separation to comply with the new Alcohol Bill’s proposals on sales were addressed by NOffLA Chairman Gary O’Donovan recently.

“For those worried about costs” he told Drinks Industry Ireland, “complying with this aspect of the new Bill can be overstated as structural separation does not mean a fixed structure. It could alternatively mean glass, shelving or just encased closets for spirits etc which are not a heavy capital expense.

“It’s merely bringing the industry up to a standard that we’re already setting and it removes that predatorial retail trick of putting alcohol under people’s noses alongside bread and milk etc.”

Whilst also favouring moves towards Minimum Unit Pricing NOffLA believes that it must be used in conjunction with a ban on below-invoice-cost selling.

“It’s going back to 2006,” he said, “It worked then and we don’t see why it shouldn’t work now.

“The restricting of alcohol advertising to just 20% of any general ad is also to be welcome,” he added.

The Association also welcomed the health warnings and calorific counts on packaging so that the consumer can make a rational purchasing decision.

“The only downside is that this Bill should have been rolled out in 2008,” he said, “Here we are seven or eight years later and still waiting to get it over the line.”

Retailers should have around 12 months to comply with any new legislation on structural separation, the detail of which will be a matter for the next Government to determine.

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