Home > The Intoxicating Liquor Act 2008.

Mongan, Deirdre (2008) The Intoxicating Liquor Act 2008. Drugnet Ireland, Issue 27, Autumn 2008, pp. 4-5.

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The Commencement Order on the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2008 was signed on 23 July 2008. The purpose of this Act is to amend the Licensing Acts 1933 to 2004 and the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 1994 in order to give effect to reforms recommended by the Government Alcohol Advisory Group.1

The main provisions in the new Act are as follows:
Sale of alcohol
·       Off-sales of alcohol will be restricted to the hours from 10.30 am to 10.00 pm (12.30 pm to 10.00 pm on Sundays and on Saint Patrick’s Day).
·       Any future applicants for a wine retailer’s off-licence will also require a District Court certificate. The grounds on which the District Court may refuse to grant a certificate for a spirit, beer or wine retailer’s off-licence will be extended. When granting a certificate, the District Court may also impose a condition that a CCTV system be installed.
·       In premises that are engaged in mixed trading, such as supermarkets, convenience stores and petrol stations, alcohol products must be displayed and sold in a specified area that is structurally separated from the rest of the premises. As compliance with this provision may require structural alterations to premises, it is intended to give licensees an adequate period of time to make the necessary arrangements before bringing it into force.
·       The grounds on which an objection may be made to the grant of a District Court certificate for any off-licence will be extended to include consideration of the needs of the neighbourhood and the adequacy of the existing number of off-licences in the area.
·       Test purchasing of alcohol products will be permitted in both on- and off-licences; appropriate safeguards for the protection of the young people concerned will be put in place.
Extended opening hours
·       The conditions under which ‘special exemption orders’ can be made will be amended to require the operation of a CCTV system and compliance with fire safety standards. The public order ground on which objection may be made by the gardaí to the grant of such orders is also being strengthened.
·       The sale of alcohol in premises with theatre licences will be permitted only during normal licensing hours, or during extended opening hours under a special exemption order granted by the District Court. 
Public order
·       The gardaí will have the power to seize bottles and containers of alcohol in the possession of a person who is aged under 18 years. It will be an offence for a person, when requested by a Garda, to refuse to give his or her name, address and age, or to hand over the bottle or container, with a fine of up to €500 on conviction. 
Alcohol promotions and discount sales
·       Advertising, promoting, selling or supplying alcohol at reduced prices will be prohibited.
Penalties and sanctions
·       There will be a minimum two-day closure period for temporary closure orders made by the District Court on the conviction of licensees for certain licensing offences, for example, sale of alcohol to a person under 18, or permitting drunkenness or disorderly conduct on the premises. Certain fines in the Licensing Acts 1833 to 2004 and fines under the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 1994 will be increased.
The majority of provisions in the Act came into operation on 30 July 2008. The provisions relating to test purchasing of alcohol products and to structural separation of alcohol in supermarkets and convenience stores have not yet been commenced.   
1. Government Alcohol Advisory Group (2008) Report of the Government Alcohol Advisory Group. Dublin: Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform.


Item Type
Publication Type
Irish-related, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
Issue Title
Issue 27, Autumn 2008
Page Range
pp. 4-5
Health Research Board
Issue 27, Autumn 2008
Accession Number
HRB (Available)

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