Skip Page Header

Home > Seanad Eireann debate. Intoxicating Liquor (Amendment) Bill 2017: committee and remaining stages.

[Oireachtas] Seanad Eireann debate. Intoxicating Liquor (Amendment) Bill 2017: committee and remaining stages. (19 Jul 2017)

External website: https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/debate/seanad...


Acting Chairman (Senator Gerry Horkan): Amendments Nos. 1 to 6, inclusive, are related and may be discussed together by agreement.

 

SECTION 1

 

Government amendment No. 1:

In page 3, line 11, to delete "Licensing Acts 1833 to 2008" and substitute "Licensing Acts 1833 to 2011".

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I am pleased to be in the Seanad to deal with this short but nevertheless important Bill in the names of Senators Lawless, Boyhan, Craughwell and McDowell. There are a number of Government amendments to it.

 

  As Senators will be aware, the Bill, as published, provides for a number of amendments to section 2 of the Intoxicating Liquor Act 1927 which, incidentally, was introduced and piloted through this House by one of my predecessors, the first Minister for Justice, Kevin O'Higgins, who represented my constituency, and the 90th anniversary of whose assassination we commemorated just last week. I want to acknowledge his contribution over a wide range of issues not least in the matter of the Intoxicating Liquor Act 1927. My understanding is that during the course of debate on this important Bill in 1927 it was the intention of the then Minister, Kevin O'Higgins, to introduce a consolidated piece of legislation in the matter of intoxicating liquor dealing with statutes, some of which dated back at far as 1634 and many of which were enacted during the course of the 19th century. Of course, we now know that did not happen. Ninety years later we are still awaiting a consolidated single statute.  I am not going to suggest that during the course of my Ministry that we will have one but I acknowledge the contribution of Senators Lawless, Boyhan, Craughwell and McDowell in this regard. Perhaps over the summer months, while enjoying a well earned vacation, if the same Independent Senators find themselves somewhat idle or in need of a project, they might like to assist in the drafting of the comprehensive and consolidated intoxicating liquor Act that Kevin O'Higgins did not get around to doing in 1927.

 

  These Government amendments would remove some restrictions to Good Friday operations. As for the amendments to section 2, having regard to the complexity of the licensing code, the Bill as drafted, while acknowledging its importance, could in certain circumstances unless amended create further anomalies. Indeed, it could unintentionally create some unfair trading conditions for certain categories of licenses premises. That is why the purpose of my amendments is to ensure that all of the provisions in the licensing Acts that prohibit the sale and supply of intoxicating liquor on Good Friday are removed in their entirety.

 

Amendment No. 1 inserts the correct collective citation of the Licensing Acts in section 1 of the Bill. Amendment No. 2 provides for a number of amendments to the Intoxicating Liquor Act 1927. It also incorporates the amendments to section 2 of the Act that is set out in the Bill as published, which would permit the sale of intoxicating liquor in public houses and off-licences on Good Friday. Amendment No. 2 also amends sections 1(1), 4(7), 14 and 56(1) of the Intoxicating Liquor Act 1927. In practice this will mean that the restriction on the sale of intoxicating liquor in hotels and the restriction on the sale of intoxicating liquor in registered clubs on Good Friday will also be subject to removal. The provision will retain the current symmetry between the rules of registered clubs and licensed premises on the sale and supply of intoxicating liquor on Good Friday. It will also mean that hotels will be permitted to sell intoxicating liquor to paying guests at any time on Good Friday and not only for consumption with a meal as is currently the law.

 

  Amendment No. 3 provides for the amendment of section 7 of the Intoxicating Liquor Act 1960. It relates to the sale and consumption of intoxicating liquor on holiday camps licensed under the Tourist Traffic Act 1952. Amendment No. 4 provides for the amendment of sections 11(5) and 22 of the Intoxicating Liquor Act 1962. The amendment of section 11(5) removes the prohibition on the granting of an occasional licence on a Good Friday. As Senators will be aware, an occasional licence, subject to obtaining an order from the District Court, allows the holder of an ordinary publican seven-day on-licence to sell intoxicating liquor for a special event at a place to which no licence is currently attached.

 

Amendment No. 5 provides for the amendment of section 14 of the Intoxicating Liquor Act 1988 that will remove the restriction on the sale of intoxicating liquor on Good Friday in premises operating on the basis of a special restaurant licence. It is my view that it would be inequitable to permit the sale of intoxicating liquor in public houses that happen to operate as restaurants or otherwise provide meals to customers but not in restaurants that operate on the basis of a special restaurant licence, of which up to April of this year we have recorded up to 500 such premises. Finally, amendment No. 6 amends the Long Title of the Bill to insert the correct collective citation. I have outlined my amendments and look forward to hearing the views of Senators on same.

 

Acting Chairman (Senator Gerry Horkan): Senators Lawless, Craughwell, Ó Donnghaile, Bacik and Black have indicated a desire to speak thus far and I will call them in that order. We will discuss amendments Nos. 1 to 6, inclusive, but then will proceed through them one by one. I call on Senator Lawless to begin.

[Click on link above for full debate]

Repository Staff Only: item control page