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Views sought on voluntary code for sale and display of alcohol

Members of the public and interested bodies are being asked to give their views on the voluntary code for sale and display of alcohol in shops.

WHAT DO YOU think of the effectiveness of the voluntary code for the sale and display of alcohol products?

Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Mr Alan Shatter TD, has launched a review of the voluntary code and is asking people to submit their views on the subject.

To help with this, he has published the Responsible Retailing of Alcohol in Ireland (RRAI)’s Compliance Report for 2011 on his department’s website.

The report shows the compliance levels of different traders in adhering to the voluntary code, and shows that 95 per cent of supermarkets complied.

Of these, Aldi and Lidl scored 100 per cent compliance, while Tesco achieved 96.5 per cent and Dunnes Stores 92 per cent.

Petrol station Esso achieved 100 per cent compliance and Topaz outlets achieved 93 per cent compliance.

Centra scored 85 per cent; Londis 83 per cent and Spar 82 per cent.

In its 2008 report, the Government Alcohol Advisory Group (GAAG) recommended the structural separation of alcohol products from other retail items in mixed trading premises such as supermarkets, convenience stores and garage forecourts.

The voluntary code was introduced in 2008 as an alternative to the statutory rules for structural separation of alcohol products in mixed trading outlets which are set out in section 9 of the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2008.

A separate body – Responsible Retailing of Alcohol in Ireland (RRAI) – has been established and funded by the mixed trading sector to oversee implementation of the Code.

Prior to any decision on whether to bring the structural separation provisions in section 9 of the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2008 into operation, the Minister is seeking people’s opinions.

The Minister said:

Following three years’ experience of the voluntary code, the time has come for a comprehensive review of whether the voluntary approach to structural separation is proving effective in practice. While progress has been made in separating alcohol products from other food and drink products in many outlets, the reality is that the large quantities of alcohol on display in some supermarkets and convenience stores, and the prominence given to alcohol products, remains a concern.

If you would like to give your opinion, you can send your submission by post to Civil Law Reform Division, Department of Justice and Equality, Bishop’s Square, Redmond’s H ill, Dublin 2, or by email to

The final date for submission is 20 December 2011.

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