The newsagent has made the move following a concerted pressure campaign from the Irish Council against Blood sports (ICABS), which has labelled shooting magazines “very graphic and violent”.
“These offensive publications glorifying violence and killing should not be accessible to minors,” the group said. It had started a petition on www.change.org to have shooting mags moved to the top shelf, which had garnered little over 1,000 signatures at the time of writing. By contrast, a petition calling for the north of England to secede from the south and join Scotland had amassed more than 45,000.
Despite this paucity of support, GTN has learned that the campaign has had an effect, and Eason is set to move shooting magazines to a less accessible position. A till prompt will be installed at automated checkouts, though this does not mean there is a minimum age limit for buying a shooting magazine.
The ICABS reported that Eason’s head of marketing Brendan Corbett stated: “We are currently in the process of moving such titles from our bottom shelves to shelving at a height out of reach for children. We will also set up a prompt at our cash registers that ask anyone purchasing such titles whether they are over 18 (as per anyone purchasing cigarettes).”
ICABS’s petition was addressed to Corbett as well as managing director Conor Whelan and senior category manager Niall Lanigan.
GTN has approached Mr Lanigan for comment but has not had a response. Meanwhile, BASC Northern Ireland said: “BASC is in contact with Eason and can confirm that as of 18 august no decision had been made to treat shooting magazines as top shelf material nor to impose age restrictions on their purchase. However, should anyone notice a change in practice in their Eason store in Northern Ireland please email email@example.com.”