Off-trade

NOffLA Speaks: Reverse 10pm close

NOffLA calls for the early closing hours to be reversed and off-licences to look for the Garda Age card in lieu of a drivers licence or passport

In an increasingly difficult economic climate, some members of the National Off-Licence Association have found themselves further impacted by the imposition of the early closing time of 10pm. Regular, adult, responsible customers have expressed their frustration, incredulity and anger at their inability to purchase alcohol after 10pm for private consumption in their homes.

The Government’s insistence that off-licences shut before 10pm creates the inexplicable situation where, while one cannot purchase alcohol to drink privately at home, adults are still permitted to drink in public after 10pm. One customer expressed his annoyance to his local off-licence: “We’re being treated like irresponsible children who must observe a curfew because they cannot be trusted to go to their local off-licence after 10pm. This is Cinderella legislation.”

The anger of this customer and so many others is being articulated very clearly in petitions that are being collated throughout NOffLA outlets nationwide. An estimated half a million customers are being inconvenienced by this unnecessary and pointless restriction. The completed public lobbying exercise will be presented to Minster for Justice, Dermot Ahern as tangible proof of public opinion.

The irony of the restricted closing hours is that it represents an attempt by Government to encourage responsible drinking. However, rather than take the advice of responsible retailers who practice Responsible Trading in the Community, the Minister has taken his cue from those who wish to make their profits on the volume of alcohol they sell. As specialist alcohol retailers who have for many years set the standards for responsible alcohol retailing, NOffLA members should be the very last to be penalised by early closing. The specialist off-licence invests in management and staff training in responsible retailing. It is no wonder that the specialist retailer now feels betrayed. Specialists believe in orderly selling as distinct from encouraging bulk purchasing.This legislation has merely served to stimulate the promotion of large quantities of cheap alcohol in multiples and discount outlets.

Minister Ahern, if you really want to encourage the responsible trading of alcohol please come and ask NOffLA how it’s done because we’ve been promoting Responsible Trading in the Community for many years, before you became Minister, and will continue to do so long after you finish in that role.

Garda Age Card best solution for off-licences

NOffLA members are reminded, that in the absence of a mandatory age card, The Garda Age Card does provide a definitive proof of identification for those who choose to obtain one. NOffLA members may want to direct some customers to the source of application forms for the Garda National Age-Card, which are available on the Garda Website at www.garda.ie. Applicants can download the form from computers at home, college, internet shops and libraries. NOffLA members requiring additional information regarding the National Age Card should contact Sgt. Naomi de Ris at agecard@iol.ie.

NOffLA members are reminded that, in addition to the Garda National Age Card, the only other acceptable forms of ID are a passport, a driver’s licence or an EU identity card. No student cards or other identification may be accepted under any circumstances.

Dates for your diary

July
Round one of Off-Licence Awards
4 – 26     Tour de France
12 – 16   Killarney Racing Festival

August
3     Public holiday
14     End of round one of Off-Licence Awards

NOffLA CONTACTS
If you have any queries regarding NOffLA membership or services, please contact our Administrator, Reggie Walsh, at Block D, Unit 6, Nutgrove Office Park, Rathfarnham, Dublin 14; phone 01 296 2326, fax 01 296 2451 or email info@noffla.ie. The NOffLA web site can be found at www.noffla.ie.

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