Belfast Telegraph

Belfast councillor fears minors could use online Dial-a-Drink service

By Christine Carrigan

A new online business where people can order booze has sparked concern.

Belfast councillors are worried that minors could use it as a means to easily obtain alcohol.

Dial-a-Drink advertises itself on Facebook and says it operates in Belfast and Lisburn.

The public can order via a phone call and have drink delivered to their front doors.

It offers "after hours" deals including 24 bottles of alcopop WKD for £25 and 20 Budweisers also for £25.

The DUP's Frank McCoubrey expressed his concerns about the business.

It is illegal for people under the age of 18 to buy alcohol in a pub, off-licence, shop or online.

Dial-a-Drink has insisted that it will not sell alcohol to minors.

Mr McCoubrey said: "My concern would be that children could be using this service.

"If that is the case, it shouldn't be happening and needs to be stopped.

"If an adult chooses to order from Dial-a-Drink, then that is their choice.

"My concern is that if it is filtering down to young people, and the repercussions that could have on them in later life.

"Kids, particularly from working-class areas in Belfast, already face enough problems without alcohol being readily available to them."

The councillor added: "We can't stop adults from making bad choices but the kids of Belfast are generally good and should be protected. This is why I'm working along with other council members to address social issues such as this.

"The community as a whole needs to put their energy into something more positive.

"This is why we are trying to get community centres which close at the weekend to stay open, so that kids have a place to go to escape the lure of drink and drugs."

UUP councillor Jeffrey Dudgeon added: "If this company is within the law then it is subject to the same regulations as other alcohol distributors. If it is within the law, then I see no problem with it operating."

Dial-a-Drink said online that it would not sell to children, but refused to make a comment on trading when contacted by the Belfast Telegraph yesterday.

There has been a rise in the number of alcohol-related deaths in Northern Ireland over the last few years.

According to latest statistics, in 2015 there were 319 alcohol-related deaths - 210 were men and 109 women.

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