RGDATA has urged new Health Minister Simon Harris not to introduce the Sale of Alcohol Bill 2015 back into the Houses of the Oireachtas in its current format.
RGDATA has highlighted the concerns of community shop owners regarding structural separation and the difficulties it poses 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. Such stores are the antithesis of independent stores, where the owner of the shop is personally and directly involved in the operation and management of the store and who as a stakeholder in the local community has a strong desire to maintain a responsible attitude to the sale of alcohol”.
“RGDATA believes that many of the policy objectives underpinning the Bill can be achieved without creating the unintended consequences which the current measure will produce” Ms. Buckley added.
One local community shop owner in Co. Kildare said, “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 local community shop owner in Drogheda said that “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”.
“RGDATA is urging all retailers to make their concerns about Structural Separation known to their local TDs. We have a minority government so every vote counts in the new Dail and Seanad. Ask your TD to raise their voice against Structural Separation during the Committee Stage debates. It will have significant security, health & safety and store layout impacts for local community stores who are responsible retailers of alcohol,” says Tara Buckley, RGDATA Director General.