A petition organised by the Convenience Stores and Newsagents Association of Ireland (CSNA) has gathered over 80,000 signatures from customers asking for amendments to be made to Section 20 of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill.
The section states that all mixed trade stores must visually separate alcohol from other goods, either behind a cabinet or in a separate room.
However, the CSNA, which represents over 1,500 retailers nationwide, is calling on Senators and TDs not to allow the bill to pass as it is currently drafted, due to the effect it will have on retailers.
Last week, health minister Simon Harris published an amendment to the bill, stating that small stores will be allowed to have two small units to display alcohol, but the CSNA says that this is not enough.
“The new amendments will only be of help to less than 5% of retail outlets in Ireland," said Vincent Jennings, CEO of the CSNA.
"This proposal does not cover the needs of a huge proportion of the small and medium sized retail sector who must still create a separate space for alcohol in their stores.”
“We do not wish to tear down this bill," Jennings continued. "Our only objection is to the current provision of the bill that requires the removal of visibility of alcohol products in our stores."
The bill is due to appear this afternoon before the Seanad.
Earlier this week, Retail Ireland said that if the legislation is passed, in its current form, it could cost individual stores between €20,000 and €50,000 in renovations.
"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," said Thomas Burke, director of Retail Ireland.
© 2017 - Checkout Magazine by Sarah Harford