Thursday, July 05, 2012

Centra’s Children’s Allowance Deal shows self-regulation is not working

Fine Gael Meath East TD and member of the Joint Committee on Health and Children, Regina Doherty, has today (Wednesday) criticised the supermarket chain Centra for including alcohol in a Children’s Allowance Day deals promotion, saying that the incident proves self-regulation of the sale of alcohol is not working. 

“This is an incredibly irresponsible approach from one of the country’s best known retailers. I find it impossible to understand how Centra would deem it appropriate to link cheap alcohol with a social welfare payment designed to support children. Children’s Allowance is just that; an allowance for parents to spend on their children. It’s extremely distasteful to suggest it should be spent on cheap alcohol.

“Centra is blatantly abusing the standards on the responsible promotion of alcohol. This case further underlines the fact that self-regulation of the industry is not working. We have become accustomed to large retailers selling alcohol below cost as a means to attract customers, but this is a new low. 

“I understand that Centra has now withdrawn the flyers. But I think the firm should also apologise for this ill-advised marketing strategy. Retailers have repeatedly shown that they are incapable of acting responsibly when it comes to the sale of alcohol. 

“The damage that alcohol inflicts on society cannot be underestimated. According to the Department of Health, the cost to Irish society of alcohol related problems is currently in excess of €3.5 billion a year. It’s estimated that alcohol plays a role in more than 50% of all suicides here. Tackling this problem is one of the biggest challenges facing us today, from a health, societal and economic point of view. 

“The Government is working on regulations to directly address the issue. I believe a ban on below cost selling and restrictions on advertising multi-pack offers and irresponsible promotions like this one will be a progressive way of addressing this problem.”

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