Home > Dáil Éireann debate. Written answer 277, 278 - Alcohol sales [45234/22 & 45241/22].

[Oireachtas] Dáil Éireann debate. Written answer 277, 278 - Alcohol sales [45234/22 & 45241/22]. (15 Sep 2022)

External website: https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/question/2022...

277. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Justice if she will consider the abolition of the cost of special exemption orders (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45234/22]

278. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Justice if the special exemption orders on bars that wish to open late will be removed (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [45241/22]

Minister for Justice: I propose to take Questions Nos. 277 and 278 together.

I am aware that Special Exemption Orders can be a source of frustration for the night-time entertainment industry. In order to support vintners and other licensed premises due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the sector, court fees and excise duty relating to Special Exemption Orders (SEOs) were waived twice, from 19th October 2021 to 31st December 2021 and again from 26th January to 1st May this year.

Any further measures would be a matter for the Estimates and budget process.

As the Deputy will be aware, the Justice Plan 2022 commits to publishing and enacting new laws to update and modernise alcohol licensing laws in Ireland. I am delivering on that commitment by preparing Heads of a General Scheme of a Sale of Alcohol Bill.

The objective of the proposed Bill is to repeal the Licensing Acts 1833 to 2018, the Registration of Clubs Acts 1904 to 2008, and the Public Dance Hall Act 1935, and to replace them with updated and streamlined provisions more suited to the 21st century. In addition, 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.

Special Exemption Orders are being reviewed in the context of the Sale of Alcohol Bill.

Work on the consolidation and reform of the licensing laws and the drafting of the General Scheme is advancing well. This is a reform on which there are many views across society, and the legislation I bring forward needs to be informed by those views.

Therefore, last November, I launched a wide-ranging consultation to seek the views of the public on the modernisation of Ireland’s licencing laws. The consultation, which ran until 21st January this year, looked at how best to update the existing laws governing the sale and regulation of alcohol in Ireland.

Members of the public, academics, sectoral groups, and representative organisations were invited to complete an online survey and/or make a written submission to the Department. There was a high level of response to the consultation, with in excess of 5,000 responses received.

The Department is now reviewing these responses to ensure the reform of the legislation takes account of and is informed by this engagement. On 10th March, I hosted a consultation webinar and panel discussion event on the reform of the alcohol licensing laws to give an opportunity for further discussion of the issues of concern to stakeholders.

That webinar can be viewed on the Department’s YouTube channel via the following link:youtu.be/0tMtKzd_9jA.

It is intended to progress this legislation in the months ahead. Submissions from stakeholders will, of course, be carefully considered in the context of publication of the forthcoming Bill.

Details of the proposed reform will be included in the General Scheme when published.

Question No. 278 answered with Question No. 277.

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