Laws regulating home delivery must be introduced in the forthcoming Public Health Alcohol Bill, the special rapporteur for child protection, Dr Geoffrey Shannon, has warned.
A report due to be published on Tuesday says “distance selling” or “dial a drink” services are believed to be on the rise, with under age buyers receiving delivery not only at home, but also in “parks and on the street”.
Gardaí say in the report that the delivery of alcohol to minors by such services is almost impossible to police as it mostly takes place in private residences.
The report, which was prepared by the Irish Community Action on Alcohol Network – part of the HSE-funded National Community Action on Alcohol Programme – outlines a range of concerns from stakeholders about the supply of alcohol to minors through distance sales.
“Gardaí indicated that this is very difficult to police, given that it is not illegal to supply alcohol to your own children, or to other’s children provided parental or guardian permission is granted and that distance sales result in supply to minors in private homes in which enforcement agencies are not generally present.”
Mr Shannon, who will launch the report, said patterns of alcohol consumption have changed. “I think the legislative response must also change to reflect that.”
Report author Paula Leonard, of the Alcohol Forum, said requiring proof of age was impossible to enforce in a home-delivery situation.