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Publicans are ‘suitably qualified’ to sell alcohol

IN response to Tom Fitzgerald’s letter (August 27), headlined ‘Alcohol – a drug served by amateurs’, I wish, on behalf of the 4,500 publicans represented by the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI), to answer certain questions posed.

Mr Fitzgerald asks whether those dispensing alcohol, our members included, are “suitably qualified to do so”. On behalf of our members, the emphatic answer is – yes we are.

The VFI takes the responsible sale of alcohol very seriously. In recent years we have helped organise the Responsible Sale of Alcohol programme, formulated in conjunction with the Department of Health, for 11,000 people who work in the trade.

I agree with Mr Fitzgerald on some points, ie, that alcohol needs to be sold in a responsible manner in a controlled environment. The pub is the safest and most controlled environment for the sale of alcohol.

In supermarkets alcohol is being sold below cost as a loss leader in non-segregated areas and is promoted in a totally irresponsible manner. Recent media coverage has also focused on the easy availability of alcohol to minors from supermarkets and off-licenses.

Padraig Cribben

CEO

Vintners’ Federation of Ireland

VFI House

Castleside Drive

Rathfarnham

Dublin 14


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