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Centra stores criticised for child benefit drink deal

A controversial shop promotion in Ireland offering cheap alcohol targeted at child benefit recipients has been condemned by Irish Government ministers.

Four Centra stores distributed flyers headlined “Children’s Allowance Day Deals” and featuring a range of price promotions, including a three-day deal on bottles of Miller and Budweiser.

Irish Justice Minister Alan Shatter said the inclusion of beer on the leaflet was irresponsible and reprehensible.

“It suggests that some retailers are more concerned with boosting their turnover and profits than selling alcohol responsibly,” said Shatter.

“I am also shocked at the suggestion that allowances paid by the State for the benefit of children should be targeted in such a cynical manner by the retailers concerned.”

Joan Burton, Irish Social Protection Minister, said child benefit is for the benefit of children.

“Targeted promotions of cheap alcohol are inappropriate where they divert badly needed funds from children and families,” she added.

Centra said the promotion was not part of a national marketing plan, adding the four franchised stores were immediately ordered to withdraw it.

“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,” said a spokesman.

“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.”

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