End to 'irresponsible' alcohol adverts

Published Wednesday, 23 May 2012
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Pubs and clubs in Northern Ireland which promote alcohol irresponsibly could be named and shamed under a new code of practice.

End to 'irresponsible' alcohol adverts
The Social Development Minister will launch the new code. (© Getty)

It also outlines the basic standards expected of those involved in the production, promotion, retail and service of alcohol across the region.

It is hoped the new measures, launched on Wednesday, will end irresponsible drinks promotions in the region.

An independent complaints panel, chaired by former PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Duncan McCausland, has been set up to oversee the regulations.

If a bar has breached the code, Mr McCausland said anyone can make a written complaint to the panel, who will then decide if the promotion was irresponsible.

"I think the key to deciding that will be the circumstances in which the promotion is being operated.

Drinking games would be irresponsible, trying to encourage people to consume large quantities of alcohol in short spaces of time would be irresponsible.

Duncan McCausland

"If a promotion breaches the code we would issue a reprimand to the premises or operator who ran that promotion. We would hope that the promoter would reflect on what would be happening and change the promotion," he explained.

The police and local council would also be told about the breach, and the details passed on to the press.

Representatives from the drinks industry have welcomed the code, which they said provided a "good basic standard" for those involved in the alcohol industry to work towards.

Pubs of Ulster's Colin Neill said: "As the representative body of the on-trade, we will be reiterating our zero tolerance approach to irresponsible practices and driving home the message that their licence could be in jeopardy if they engage in any form of irresponsible promotion."

Gavin Partington of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association said: "Supermarkets have already been leading the way with voluntary measures such as Challenge 25 and Community Alcohol Partnerships, which have proven to be effective."

Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland said he has been concerned about the way in which alcohol is marketed, especially "particular promotions involving very cheap alcohol and its availability to young people", he explained.

"I have been encouraged by the attitude of some of the bodies representing the drinks industry, who have been working to develop this Joint Industry Code.

"I very much welcome the opportunity to work with the drinks industry to end irresponsible drinks promotions which encourage excessive consumption of alcohol."

The code will be rolled out on Wednesday for a three month adjustment period to allow the industry to adapt to the new measures. It will come into full effect on 1 September.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
shelly in newry wrote (983 days ago):
I am disgusted at local bars and pubs who insist on running £1 a drink promos. The drink being served is nothing more than battery acid and is a recipe for diasaster to both the consumer and the community. Most of the people partaking of these nights are not even legal age. something needs to be done
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