‘Derry must address underage drinking’

SDLP Councillor Shauna Cusack.
SDLP Councillor Shauna Cusack.

A Derry councillor has called for a crackdown on the sale of alcohol to young people, warning underage drinking is a damaging phenomenon throughout the city that needs to be tackled.

SDLP Councillor Shauna Cusack has urged the PSNI to act against any retailers found to be turning a blind eye to or facilitating underage off-sales.

She has asked that the PSNI’s neighbourhood officers call on off-licenses in her Foyleside District Electoral Area (DEA) to help staff recognise and combat underage purchases.

Colr. Cusack stated: “The problem of underage drinking is widespread throughout this city and we need to address every factor leading to this behaviour head on.

“A lot of questions arise around the accessibility to alcohol and what we can do to combat this.”

The local representative said she recognised that most retailers were not engaged in the practice of selling alcohol to young people.

“I appreciate that most off-licenses are responsible and ask for ID but possibly need additional help in identifying underage or even proxy purchasing and the signs to look for.

“I am glad to report that following my request, officers have agreed to visit establishments in the neighbourhoods I represent, to reiterate the importance of complying with the law and the responsibility they have in helping prevent underage drinking.

“They will also be discussing the penalties should anyone be caught supplying alcohol to children and the signs of proxy purchasing.

“They have agreed to do this commencing early this month.

“I have been informed that the policing teams also intend to distribute leaflets and literature as part of this drive and I would encourage everyone in the drinks industry take advantage of any assistance offered.”