Eivissa nightclub drinks promotion complaints upheld
An independent panel has upheld a number of complaints against a Belfast nightclub owner over its "Messy Mondays" drinks promotions.
Premium Bars and Restaurants, which operated Eivissa nightclub, was found to have encouraged "excessive and irresponsible" alcohol consumption.
A spokesman for Eivissa said it was fully committed to encouraging safe, responsible and enjoyable socialising.
It said the promotion was provided by a third party and this has now ended.
A number of complaints were received by the Independent Complaints Panel.
The panel oversees the Northern Ireland Responsible Promotion and Retail of Alcohol Code.
It found that the nightclub breached four specific areas of the code which state that no alcohol promotion in Northern Ireland should:
- Suggest that alcohol consumption enhances sexual attractiveness or include promotional material that is linked to sexual imagery implying sexual success or prowess
- Refer to consuming alcohol to recover from over indulgence, glamorise excessive or irresponsible drinking and the effects of intoxication should not be referred to in any favourable manner
- Be disrespectful of contemporary, prevailing standards of taste and decency or degrade or be gratuitously offensive through images, symbols, figures and innuendo
- Dispense alcohol in a manner that the consumer cannot regulate the amount of alcohol consumed, such as when alcohol is dispensed directly into a person's mouth
Duncan McCausland, chair of the independent complaints panel overseeing the code, said: "Whilst we are not against licensed premises offering good value promotions to their customers, it is the responsibility of every licensee to ensure they do so in a way that does not encourage the irresponsible consumption of alcohol or offend common decency.
"This case also highlights the growing use of social media to promote business and alcohol promotions.
"Therefore, all licensees must ensure that a system of control is in place to monitor how their promotions are publicised across all their social media channels and to ensure that the Responsible Retailing Code is not being breached."
Paul Kelly, general manager of Eivissa, said: "Despite specifically instructing the promoter to promote only within code guidelines and removing the content as soon as we became aware of it, preceding the complaint, we accept the decision of the panel and intend to take greater care in the selection of promotion companies for events at Eivissa, particularly where social media are used.
"We can also confirm that our relationship with this promoter has ended as a result of this incident."
Colin Neill, chief executive of Pubs of Ulster, said he fully supported the panel's decision.
"Irresponsible drinks promotions and practices have no place in our industry and as the representative body of the trade locally, we are committed to ensuring that our members comply with all aspects of the code," he said.
"We hope that this decision serves as a reminder to all licensees that the code and its panel have a zero tolerance approach to irresponsible practices."