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When should drinkers have their supply cut off?... A new course teaches bartenders how to decide

The 90 minute online course is being backed by vintners groups…

RSA Online.

A NEW ONLINE training aid for bartenders has been launched — offering a 90-minute guide to people working behind bars on thorny issues like when to stop serving intoxicated customers and how to handle situations if drinkers get out of hand.

The initiative, which comes from the group ‘Responsible Serving of Alcohol’ is available via Alcohol.ie, and comes approved by medical and legal experts.

RSA’s Mary Kennedy, who developed the programme, says it offers publicans a chance to upskill workers without having to arrange for staff to attend an in-person training session.

We’d train about 1,000 people face-to-face each year, so 15,000 in total since 1999… This offers another avenue.

As part of her research, Kennedy found that 90 per cent of workers in the sector — from junior staff to management — weren’t aware that bars could be held legally responsible for supplying alcohol to a drunken person.

A large number of staff surveyed also got questions on alcohol strength wrong — for example, guessing that a serving of vodka and tonic was stronger than a standard pub measure of red wine (in fact, the vodka-based drink has half the alcohol).

“We think this will be important for the industry, and, for instance, if someone goes for a job in a pub, that the employer will look for it on their CV,” Kennedy said.

RSA Online.

The online programme was developed with money from an EU grant — and Fáilte Ireland have also promised investment for the roll-out of the course, Kennedy said.

Publicans groups the Vintners Federation of Ireland and the Licensed Vintners Association have also given it their backing, as have the Irish Hotels Federation — but no drinks industry money was used to put the course together.

Dr Stephen Stewart — a liver disease expert at the Mater — acted as a consultant on the project. Speaking at its launch today, he said alcohol was “a unique commodity” that “must be treated with respect and some caution”.

“An educational course that offers a good grounding in the key elements of this is invaluable and should, in my view, be a pre-requisite in the training of bar staff.

“With raised awareness of the potential problems associated with alcohol among those that serve it we move closer to a time when we as a nation can develop a more healthy relationship with alcohol, limit harms and enjoy its consumption in moderation or at least with a better understanding of potential risks.”

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