The Responsible Serving of Alcohol Programme launches new online training initiative

Monday, 20 October 2014

Irish Pubs and Hotels have come together to give a new impetus to the responsible serving of alcohol.
    • Vintners’ Federation of Ireland, Licensed Vintners Association and Irish Hotels Federation team-up to support new online training programme for their members
    • New Training Programme encourages Pubs, Hotels and licensed premises to develop policies and procedures in serving alcohol to minimise the risk of alcohol related harm.

The Responsible Serving of Alcohol (RSA) today launched a new initiative for training bar owners and staff in Ireland. In addition to current face to face RSA training which began in 1999, the RSA Online course responds to the demand for a server training option which is more accessible and cost effective.

The Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI), Licenced Vintners Association (LVA) and the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) who represent well over 100,000 people employed in the service and hospitality sector have come together to support the initiative.

Following extensive global research and in consultation with key industry personnel, RSA Online is approved by medical and legal experts. The new initiative is a 90 minute online (e-learning) course consisting of an interactive learning component, examination and certification.

Speaking at the launch at Dublin pub The Bridge 1859, Mary Kennedy, owner of and developer of the RSA Programme said; “Bartenders and servers have a tough job pleasing the customer and obeying the law can be challenging. Responsible Serving of Alcohol (RSA) training is designed to support the real needs of the industry, instilling confidence to make decisions and act decisively when the need arises. Customer safety, protection of minors and moderate consumption of alcohol are key elements of responsible serving and its importance to our country’s health welfare is crucial.

“Having achieved significant success through our face to face RSA training, we are delighted to be in position to bring our output to the next level. ‘RSA Online’ is user friendly, quick and comprehensive. It contains real life scenarios, interactive quizzes and multimedia animation, providing a good knowledge base for all those employed in the service industry.”

“Meeting all current EU guidelines and using the latest e-learning technology, the Irish RSA Programme is recognised as one of the best server training courses in Europe. Initial dialogue with the Department of Health has been good and we would urge the Department of Health to take a look at how this programme can be implemented for the benefit of those working in the service and sale of alcohol.”

Padraig Cribben, Donal O’Keeffe and Tim Fenn, CEO’s of the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland, The Licensed Vintners’ Association and The Irish Hotels Federation, respectively, welcomed the new online programme. The three men stated it would of great benefit to the entire service industry and would equip all staff in pubs, clubs, hotels and restaurants with the skillset needed to best serve the consumer. The collective feeling amongst the three representatives is that the Irish consumer will be able to enjoy a drink safe in the knowledge they are being served by a fully qualified member of staff.

They also stressed the importance of alcohol being sold in a controlled and regulated environment and warned of the scant consideration being given to the manner in which alcohol is being sold in supermarkets up and down the length and breadth of the country.

Dr Stephen Stewart, Consultant Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist, Director of the Centre for Liver Disease, Mater Hospital speaking at the launch also commented;
“The bartender’s role can be very challenging. It is critical that bar staff understand the effects of alcohol - whether acute or chronic - so that they know when people are running into trouble and can head off problems before they happen. Alcohol is a unique commodity and must be treated with respect and some caution. An educational course that offers a good grounding in the key elements of this is invaluable and should, in my view, be a pre-requisite in the training of bar staff. With raised awareness of the potential problems associated with alcohol among those that serve it we move closer to a time when we as a nation can develop a more healthy relationship with alcohol, limit harms and enjoy its consumption in moderation or at least with a better understanding of potential risks.”

RSA Online is the subject matter for an extensive research campaign being undertaken by the Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) and coordinated by Dr. Joanne Malone of the department of languages, tourism and hospitality. The research will assess the impact of online server training on the hospitality industry in Ireland. The research will be carried out across industry sectors (Hotels, bars, clubs, restaurants) and across various levels of staff (junior bartenders, managers/owners of licensed premises).

John Mulcahy, Head of Tourism, Fáilte Ireland says; "Failte Ireland is one of the original supporters of the RSA programme since its inception fifteen years ago and remains committed to supporting its development and promotion, particularly where tourists are likely to experience the benefits. Today's launch of the Responsible Serving of Alcohol Online Programme is a natural progression in bringing this important message to as wide an audience as possible within the Irish tourism industry. In doing so, the RSA programme helps to positively contribute to the tourist experience in Ireland."

ABFI is a sector association within IBEC and represents alcoholic drinks manufacturers and suppliers in Ireland; Director Kathryn D’Arcy says “The alcohol industry takes its responsibilities extremely seriously. It is very much in our industry’s interest to ensure that people enjoy our products moderately and to reduce alcohol misuse, wherever possible. We believe in evidence-based solutions to achieve this. As such, we fully support the RSA online course, which provides pub and hotel staff with accessible and cost-effective training, approved by medical and legal experts.”


For more information or interview opportunities:
Natalie Tennyson
PSG Communications:
01 634 2558 / 083 1271277

Dan O’Neill
PSG Communications:
01 634 2549 / 087 1232182

About the Responsible Serving of Alcohol Programme:
Established in 1999, the RSA Programme offers in-company, external and online training courses to Hotels, Pubs, Nightclubs, Sports Clubs, Colleges and Restaurants. The programme covers the following;
    · Alcohol – the product and its effect on the body
    · Protection of Children, I.D. checking guide
    · Development of policies and procedures for licensed premises
    · Intoxicating liquor act – responsibility of the server and license holder
    · Handling Car Bars and other new phenomena’s affecting business
    · Introduction of an RSA Alcohol Policy for all premises’
    · Seasonal topics – Monitoring a busy bar at Christmas/ Weddings/etc