A member of parliament in the Irish Republic has called on supermarket Tesco to withdraw its Christmas Toys and Gift Guide, claiming that the promotion of alcohol in the booklet encourages under-age drinking. John Perry, a prominent member of the opposition Fine Gael party, whose family runs an off-licence and hotel business, said large retailers like Tesco should take "a more responsible attitude" to the marketing and sale of alcohol, given the widespread concern about teenage drinking.
The guide features toys and gifts alongside gift packs of alcohol.
Mr Perry added that it was "unacceptable" that Tesco should be marketing children's toys and gifts alongside promotions for wines and spirits.
Mr Perry claims parents have contacted him to protest about the guide and that health minister Michael Martin shares their concern. The minister has just established a task force to report on the damage being done to the young through over-indulgence in alcohol.
"I think Tesco should withdraw this guide immediately and apologise to parents for what is an appalling lack of judgement," said Mr Perry.
But a Tesco spokeswoman said the company had "total respect for the law" and would never contemplate promoting or selling alcohol to under-18s. She said the alcohol gift packs were included to show the range of products available and were aimed at adults, as was the guide.