Image: Public consultation on the Review of Alcohol Licensing
What this is about
The Programme for Government commits to ‘modernising our licensing laws and application processes’ and the Justice Plan 2021 commits to reviewing and modernising alcohol licensing. In addition, the issue of outdated alcohol licensing legislation was a key challenge identified by stakeholders in the recently published report of the Night-Time Economy Taskforce.
Therefore, the Minister intends to modernise alcohol licensing laws through the Sale of Alcohol Bill. The existing laws governing sale and regulation of alcohol in Ireland have been rooted in principles of the transparent regulation and administration of licensing, the importance of public health and the maintenance of public order. These principles will underpin this reform process.
What we are consulting on
Legislation governing the sale, supply and consumption of alcohol in licensed premises are set out in the Licensing Acts 1833 to 2018 and in the Registration of Clubs Acts 1904 to 2008. The resulting licensing code is fragmented, complex and out of date in many respects. The objective of the proposed Sale of Alcohol Bill is to repeal the Licensing Acts and the Registration of Clubs Acts and to replace them with updated and streamlined provisions more suited to the 21st century. It is also the intention to repeal the Public Dance Hall Act 1935.
Codifying alcohol licensing law into a single Act will make it more accessible and user-friendly for the licensed trade, courts, Gardaí and the public. Any changes in alcohol licensing laws must be balanced with the need for regulation in the public interest, in particular public health and public order. Reforms will be developed with a supportive approach to businesses, and the interests of public health, consumers and communities will be central.
An initiative on reforming this legislation was undertaken in 2005. The resulting draft General Scheme on the Sale of Alcohol Bill requires updating to reflect more recent developments and revised approaches.
What we are asking you to do
We invite you to complete the survey at the link below to share your views. You may do so completely anonymously and in confidence.
You may also provide details of any other aspects of licensing laws that you believe should be changed or added. Any relevant evidence that you think should be considered by the department in relation to the impact of current or proposed licensing laws may also be submitted.
The aims of this open consultation are to determine public opinion on current alcohol licensing laws, seek views on the changes required, and elicit suggested solutions to ensure Ireland has a modern and streamlined licensing framework to respond appropriately to changing expectations and lifestyles.
This consultation will be open from 25 November 2021 to close of business on 21 January 2022.
To assist the department in analysing the responses received, it would be helpful if responses to survey questions and any additional materials submitted could set out the reasons for the views expressed, and provide any available evidence on the need for proposed changes, and on their likely impact. It is also asked that you indicate clearly what aspect(s) of the alcohol licensing system you are addressing in your response.
What will happen to what you say
All of the responses received in relation to this survey and any other materials submitted will be reviewed by the department when considering how best to draft the legislation to reform Ireland’s alcohol licensing laws.
In due course, the department will publish, on its website, a summary of the survey results and may also publish a copy of any responses/submissions/materials received. The department may also receive requests for disclosure of such responses/submissions/materials under the Freedom of Information Act 2014.
It is, therefore, in your interests to highlight at the time of response/submission any information which you consider to be commercially sensitive, or to contain private, personal or confidential material, and to specify the reasons for its sensitivity/confidentiality.
In relation to materials submitted via the email address provided, and where possible and appropriate, the department will consult with respondents regarding information identified by them as sensitive, before making a decision on a response to a related Freedom of Information request. The department will treat any personal information received in accordance with the provisions of the Data Protection Acts.