Published Friday, 31 August 2012
It is hoped the new code will help prevent binge drinking. (© Getty)
The industry code to monitor the responsible sale of alcohol has been drawn up amid growing concern about binge drinking, particularly among young people.
It outlines the basic standards expected of those involved in the production, promotion, retail and service of alcohol in Northern Ireland.
When the procedure goes live on Saturday, any member of the public who thinks the cheap price of alcohol may breach the code can complain to an Independent Complaints Panel.
Enforcement of the Joint Industry Code for the Responsible Promotion and Retail of Alcohol in Northern Ireland will be overseen by a panel chaired by Duncan McCausland, former PSNI assistant chief constable.
The panel will then meet to discuss the complaint and if is upheld, the press, police and council will be informed.
Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland said he welcomed the opportunity to end irresponsible drinks promotions which "encourage the excessive consumption of alcohol".
"I have been concerned for some time about the way in which alcohol is promoted and marketed, in particular promotions involving very cheap alcohol and its availability to young people," he explained.
The code has the backing of the drinks industry and it is hoped the self-regulatory measure will eventually become a condition of granting or renewing liquor and entertainment licenses across NI.
Colin Neill, chief executive of the representative body Pubs of Ulster, said, "We believe irresponsible drinks promotions have no place in our industry and will provide members with on-going support and advice to ensure they do not accidently breach the code."
The scheme will be rolled out following a three month adjustment period, and Duncan McCausland said those in the drinks industry are aware of the consequences of breaching the code.
"I have been very encouraged with the positive approach taken by the industry and its willingness to work with other key stakeholders and the larger community and hope that the roll out of the code will confine irresponsible drinks promotions to the past," he added.