RGDATA has urged the new Health Minister, Simon Harris, not to introduce the current format of the Sale of Alcohol Bill 2015 back into the Houses of the Oireachtas.
It has underlined the concerns of small shop owners in regards to structural separation, and what difficulties it could pose for their businesses.
Tara Buckley, Director General RGDATA said, "In particular, the Bill has created significant concern and unease among shops owners who believe that it has the real potential to distort the market for alcohol sales towards large format retailers, who either specialise in the sale of alcohol products or who are involved in a mixed trade but on a larger scale.”
She added that RGDATA’s position is that many of the Bill’s policy objectives can be achieved without creating the unintended consequences it claims the Bill, in its current state, would result in.
One shop owner in Co. Kildare told the group, "There is no need to introduce structural separation in my shop. We all agree with minimising risks but it needs a common sense approach in relation to pricing. The multiples are driving the lower cost sales so we shouldn’t be penalised for that."
Another shop owner in Drogheda added, "Customers will feel uneasy going into another part of the shop – it just doesn’t make sense."
A local village shop in Wicklow commented, "This is the biggest issue for small local shops, it will put me out of business if I have to invest in a separate area for alcohol."
© 2016 - Checkout Magazine by Jenny Whelan.