Retail Ireland, has said that if the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill legislation is passed tomorrow (8 November) in the Seanad, in its current form, this could cost individual stores renovation costs of between €20,000 and €50,000, according to a statement it issued today .
"If this legislation is passed in its current form, independent estimates suggest that the in-store changes required would cost individual stores between €20,000 and €50,000, depending on store size, to ensure compliance." Thomas Burke, director of Retail Ireland, said.
The Ibec group that represents the retail sector said that the costs to retailers are 'disproportionate' as the the Bill 'will force retailers to remove alcohol products from public visibility in stores, erect screens in excess of seven feet, and place opaque doors on storage units containing alcohol products'.
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"While we are fully supportive of Government efforts to address this societal problem, there is no evidence to suggest that removing alcohol products from visibility in retail outlets will do anything to address the problem of alcohol misuse in Ireland." He added.
In recent weeks Government has insisted that it planned to bring an amendment to the Bill to address retailers’ concerns, the statement outlined.
Retailing Of Alcohol In Ireland Code
Retail Ireland insisted however, that the amendment, as outlined late last week, 'does nothing to allay the sector’s concerns' and would see 'less than 100 stores exempted from the legislation, which is the equivalent of under 4%'.
As an alternative, Retail Ireland said that it would support the placing of the current voluntary Responsible Retailing of Alcohol in Ireland Code (RRAI) on a statutory footing.
The RRAI code, which was introduced in 2008, is 'supported by the Department of Justice and Equality and the Department of Health'.
Retail Ireland outlined that the code includes provisions around the display and advertising of alcohol along with alcohol merchandising and proof of age during the purchase process.
Burke outlined, “Alcohol is not an ordinary product, and the rules of the RRAI Code ensure that it is not permitted to be displayed or promoted as such. By placing the RRAI Code on a statutory footing it removes any necessity for the introduction of disproportionate and overly burdensome, complex new regulations for the retail sector in Ireland."
Burke said that this would be a holistic response to regulating the sale of alcohol in mixed trade outlets.
He added, "Furthermore, a modest amendment to Section 20 of the Bill, as currently drafted, to remove the phrase ‘not readily visible’ would allay the fears of the Irish retail sector about the negative impact this legislation would have on their businesses, and allow all parties to focus on implementing what is a crucial, long overdue piece of legislation.”
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