Back in 2008 I wrote a blog titled, Leaky Buckets, Rain and New Alcohol Legislation in Ireland . I questioned the ability of our govt to protect the alcohol trade, and consequently the wine trade, and its customers from poorly tarined staff and the inappropriate selling of alcohol. I suggested that anyone incapable of working out a budget within billions when the economy was on the way UP would get it equally wrong on the way DOWN and these were the muppets looking after how alcohol would be handled throughout the State.
Well, the leaking bucket that was our fiscal economy has been allowed to empty. How about the sale of alcohol? Currently the major part of the Irish trade has been allowed to regulate itself. As idiotic as it may seem this self regulation means signing up to a voluntary Code of Practice. This Code was drawn up by the major retailers and the Dept of Justice. It is administered by the Alcohol and Beverage Federation of Ireland within IBEC. This is a cosy club whose sole intention is to sell as much alcohol as possible, in as many ways imagined, so long as they don't stray too far from the Code. There is no staff training and no penalties for transgressors of the Code other than a threat from the Dept of Justice that, if they are really bold, they will be forced to sell through stand alone stores only!
All of this is going on while the independent wine and off licence trade is not obliged to sign up to the Code at all because they sell through stand alone stores already. That's just plain stupid. Not only should everyone selling alcohol be obliged to sign up to the Code but it should not be voluntary and it should not be administered through the trade that it purports to regulate.
|Long shadow of Regulation is needed|
Current problems include:
What should be done?
- Selling off site via credit card
- Delivering off site continues with far too few checks on age
- The Code is not visible in stores
- Alcohol is still on sale across many stores when it should be in one area only
- No staff training - and irrelevant WSET exam results are still being used as proof of expertise!
- Self regulation is not working
- Too few people realise that price wars on alcohol (wine especially) are direct contributors to disease and anti social problems. Currently this problem has been allowed to grow in kitchens right across the land.
- Independent, relevent and current staff training certification needs to be compulsory for anyone allowed to sell alcohol. This includes all checkout operators!
- Self regulation must be abolished.
- All off site deliveries must be accompanied by proof of age.
- Below cost selling needs to be abolished. Just to make this simple the real cost can be expressed as taxation plus X . This should be available on line for every product for everyone to inspect.
- Three Strikes and you're Out should be adopted. Operators must be in fear of losing their Licence.