Two recent rulings by the organisation MEAS in response to complaints (details here) show the problem with self regulating industries.
One complaint was upheld against the Portobello pub where they had special offers on drinks, selling them for €4, because it was deemed to be a “happy hour” – though the promotion was for 4 hours.
Another complaint against the Burn Beach Club was rejected despite the fact that they were selling drinks for €2. This apparently is allowed, and not in contravention of any Meas self-imposed regulations.
I don’t know either the pub or nightclub concerned, but you’d have to agree with the pub manager, Paul Slevin, who is quoted as saying:
Mr Slevin said the laws needed tweaking to allow regular pubs to drum up trade, particularly during the recession and at a time when supermarkets and off-licences were offering massive cut-price promotions on alcoholic drinks.
The reason why one special offer is okay and the other isn’t is because Burn Beach Club makes their offer available all day, rather than only during a “happy hour”.
But think about it? How long is a nightclub open for? 4 hours per day?
What’s the difference really then?
For the record, I’ve never been in favour of the ban on happy hours, and the application of the self-regulatory rules imposed by MEAS as can be seen above makes no sense whatsoever.
For those who don’t know, MEAS is the Mature Enjoyment of Alcohol in Society Limited. According to its own blurb, “MEAS is committed to the promotion of the highest ethical standards within the Drinks Industry, and does not condone any misuse or abuse of alcohol.”
The website states that the member companies of MEAS are as follows – self regulation at it’s finest –
- Beamish & Crawford plc*
- C&C Group plc
- Diageo Ireland
- Drinks Industry Group of Ireland
- Edward Dillon & Co. Ltd
- Heineken Ireland
- InBev Ireland
- Irish Distillers Ltd
- Licensed Vintners Association
- Vintners’ Federation of Ireland