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Drink

Publicans withdraw from membership of alcohol regulation lobby

Vintners associations withdraw from MEAS’s voluntary code on alcohol promotion, and therefore from the body itself.

THE COUNTRY’S TWO largest publicans associations have withdrawn from a drinks industry body promoting the sensible enjoyment of alcohol.

Both the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) and the Licenced Vintners’ Association (LVA) have pulled out of the MEAS lobby group after withdrawing from its voluntary code on the promotion of alcoholic drinks.

It is understood that both groups withdrew from the code, and therefore from the lobby itself, after concerns from their members that a voluntary code of conduct on the sale of alcohol was sending customers into off-licences for cheaper produce instead of pubs.

As a result, MEAS – a group calling for the Mature Enjoyment of Alcohol in Society – is now calling on the government to introduce legal regulations on the below-cost sale of alcohol in off-licences.

“I very much regret this decision by the two vintner organisations,” MEAS chief executive Fionnuala Sheehan said.

I understand that it was taken reluctantly and out of concern that the voluntary compliance of their members… was placing them at a commercial disadvantage.

Sheehan called on the government to lead the development of a code of practice regulating the sale and promotion of alcohol across both pubs and off-licences.

MEAS was established in 2002 by the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland, but is operationally independent from alcohol companies. It is best known for operating the alcohol awareness website drinkaware.ie.

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