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Friday 20 September 2019

Centra pulls ‘Children’s Allowance Day Deals’ which include beer

Sarah Stack

FOUR Centra stores have been ordered to pull a promotion offering cheap alcohol as part of a special deal for children's allowance day.

The retail group insisted it takes the sale and promotion of alcohol extremely seriously as it instructed its franchised stores to withdraw the offers.

The Centra shops in Fairview and East Wall in Dublin, Kilcoole in Wicklow and Tullamore in Offaly distributed flyers headlined "Children's Allowance Day Deals" and featuring a range of price promotions, including a deal on bottles of Miller and Budweiser.

Children's charities criticised the advert, which they claimed sent out the wrong message.

A spokesman for Centra said the promotion was not part of a national marketing plan.

"Centra fully understands that the abuse of alcohol is a serious issue in Irish society and apologises for the promotion, which although isolated to four stores, is contrary to Centra's belief that retailers have a critical role to play in ensuring that alcohol is promoted and sold responsibly," he said.

"Centra is today reminding all of its 462 retailers across the country to follow strict guidelines which are in place regarding the responsible promotion of alcohol.

"As a community brand, we are acutely conscious of our corporate and social responsibilities.

"We accept that there is a problem with alcohol consumption, binge drinking and alcohol-related health and public order problems."

Fianna Fail Senator Averil Power said she was genuinely shocked to see a respected company and brand name like Centra associated with such a cynical and reckless promotion.

"Retailers have a duty to ensure alcohol is marketed in a responsible fashion," she said.

"Children's allowance is specifically provided to parents to help feed and clothe their kids.

"Centra's cynical promotion is insulting to parents who are struggling to pay for the basics and certainly won't be spending their money on beer."

Ms Power, who had called on the Centra head office to pull the promotion, also plans to write to the Office of the Director of Consumer Affairs, the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland, retail groups and the ministers for health and social protection.

Centra said it has invested in staff training and complies with the Responsible Retailers of Alcohol in Ireland (RRAI) code and the law.

"We support current Government efforts to address the alcohol problem including the setting of a minimum price for the sale of alcohol," the spokesman added.

"We also believe that the RRAI code should be put on a statutory footing and that stronger penalties should be in place for the sale of alcohol to minors and breaches of licensing laws, including the loss of licence for retailers."

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