Home > A response to the Department of Justice open consultation on the review of alcohol licensing.

Alcohol Action Ireland. (2022) A response to the Department of Justice open consultation on the review of alcohol licensing. Dublin: Alcohol Action Ireland.

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Licensing application systems
At present some alcohol licensing applications are made to the District Court, while others are made to the Circuit Court. The Circuit Court is involved in the majority of new applications. There is a proposal to streamline court involvement so that all court licensing matters (in relation to alcohol) are entrusted to the District Court.

What are your views on the existing licensing system?
In our view, the historical context of an alcohol licensing system was largely driven by an economic and social need for order within a 19/20th century society, where alcohol use was understood to be contributing to significant crime, public disorder and nuisance, undermining economic productivity and public safety, and endangering children from alcohol harm. Over recent decades, modified social norms have somewhat influenced a change in alcohol behaviours, however those fundamental concerns remain central to the rational of ensuring that adequate controls are established on the vendor of alcohol.

In current times, with a much greater understanding of the risk to human health, reducing alcohol use has become an imperative of public health policy, with alcohol now known to be responsible for the deaths of at least three people every day; over 1000 alcohol attributable cancer diagnoses annually and over 10% of our national health expenditure dedicated to managing the care of those impacted by alcohol harm. In this context, while alcohol licensing had a public order policy fit within the Department of Justice, in our view the significance of public health considerations suggests this role can no longer exclusively be within its remit.

For instance, public transport policy on road safety, determined in the early noughties, identified that the previous licensing regime for road users and vehicles was no longer fit for purpose or aligned to the objectives of road safety. The reform pursued, at that time, established the Road Safety Authority as custodians of an enhanced and exacting driver training and licensing criteria that combined with a variety of safety initiatives: car worthiness; environmental improvements, etc., has seen road fatalities and incidents reduce dramatically in two decades...

Item Type
Publication Type
Drug Type
Intervention Type
26 January 2022
15 p.
Alcohol Action Ireland
Corporate Creators
Alcohol Action Ireland
Place of Publication
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