The developments form part of an extensive review of the Federation’s communications strategy where the rebuilding of communications platforms was identified early on as a first step for members.
Among the conference motions were ones which sought that the Federation take steps to ensure that the laws relating to the sale of alcohol are applied with the same consistency throughout the off-trade – including mixed trading outlets – as in the on-trade.
Members also sought an amendment to the law in relation to Area Exemptions where such Exemptions would cover 18 nights instead of 12 and that the Department of Education prepare students, either through activity in Transition Year or through the Home Economics curriculum, in the basics required for employment in the hospitality sector.
Additionally, the conference passed a motion that sanctions should be put in place for parents and/or guardians of minors who use false ID to gain access to licensed premises.
Kildare’s John Brennan pointed out to delegates that even passports can be difficult to verify. He recalled one case where the Gardai themselves spent 40 minutes trying to verify if a proffered passport was valid or not, “… yet I’m done if it’s false,” he concluded.
There were also calls for the government to introduce a new PRSI system for the self-employed to allow for the option of paying contributions entitling the self-employed to equivalent unemployment benefits as PAYE workers.
Furthermore, the conference passed a motion to the effect that the Federation “deplores the delay in implementing the Public Health Alcohol Bill” and it called on government to complete the process of having this legislation enacted immediately.
Delegates also reiterated their call for a ban on below-cost selling and repeated their call for the introduction of MUP and structural separation in mixed trading outlets.
Time at the end of the session was devoted to the possibility that craft brewers and distillers would be allowed to sell their product to those visiting the facility at the end of a tour. While few found favour with this proposed amendment to licensing legislation, it was believed that the development had widespread support at party political level and was likely to go through anyway.
The conference, which began around 10am, was concluded by lunchtime.