Duty-free trade exempt from under-age liquor sales law

27 August, 2008
Page 11 
Ireland's duty-free liquor in-dustry has narrowly escaped the costly repercussions of new government legislation aimed at curbing alcohol consumption among the country's under-age drinkers.

The proposed Liquor/Public Order Act 2008 re-quires that retailers locate their wine and spirit offer separately from other product categories by means of a "solid wall or some other similar barrier". If space limitations make this unfeasible, then liquor can only be sold over the counter.

Irish airport operator Aer Rianta International, with the assistance of the European Travel Retail Council (ETRC), successfully lobbied the Irish government to insert a derogation that exempted the country's duty-free shops from all the provisions of the bill, which could be brought into force by the end of the summer.

"This is great news for the duty-free and travel-retail liquor business," said ETRC spokesperson John Hume.

"The provisions would have been prohibitively costly to introduce and would have meant retailers looking to other product categories to fill the gap.

"It would have also created a dangerous international precedent, so we are glad we were able to persuade the powers that be that the highly regulated and controlled nature of the industry entitled us to an exemption."

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