Alcohol vendors warned over underage sales

Pubs and off-licences in Co Kerry have been warned to be more vigilant when selling alcohol after a sting found nearly half of premises tested did not ask for ID and sold drink to minors.

Superintendent of the Garda District covering Listowel and north Kerry Daniel Keane said the result was “very disappointing”.

He said there had been a high-profile case before the courts in Listowel last year and it was very worrying that nearly half those targeted on Saturday night failed the test.

Those premises and their managers will themselves be up before the courts now.

A mixture of off licence- type premises and pubs were targeted on May 13 for the series of ‘test purchasing’ checks by the north Kerry gardaí who were assisted by teenagers. Seven premises were checked in the sting operation and one of these included a petrol station. Three premises out of seven failed in that they sold intoxicating liquor to minors.

“This operation was carried out in conjunction with the Listowel Community Action on Alcohol which is being piloted in Listowel as part of the Listowel Alcohol Strategy 2016-2018,” said Supt Keane. A combination of beer and wine was sought by the minors who were carrying out the operation. The teenagers were over the age of 15 and under the age of 18 as required under the regulations of the test purchase operations.

“All premises that are licensed for the sale of alcohol need to be mindful that they must not sell alcohol to minors and they must have processes and procedures in place to ensure that young persons are challenged on their age and must have appropriate identification to show that they are over 18 years of age before alcohol is sold to them,” he said.

Last year Lidl avoided a conviction for selling a bottle of rum to a 16-year-old girl who was part of a test purchase of premises in Listowel in 2015. The case was struck out after the retailer paid €5,000 to the court poor box.

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