Home > Minister McEntee to reform Ireland’s antiquated licensing laws.

[Department of Health] Minister McEntee to reform Ireland’s antiquated licensing laws. (25 Oct 2022)

External website: https://www.gov.ie/en/press-release/d1ff6-minister...

Minister receives Cabinet approval for General Scheme of Sale of Alcohol Bill

  • modernisation of laws stretching back 200 years
  • sale of alcohol will be tightly regulated with strict licensing regime
  • reforms to support and protect industry
  • development of night time culture and economy a priority 

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee has today received Cabinet approval for her draft Bill to reform Ireland’s antiquated licensing system. The present system is based on a patchwork of 100 laws - some of which are over 200 years old and two thirds of which pre-date the foundation of the State 100 years ago.  

Minister McEntee believes the laws are in significant need of reform, and today published the General Scheme of the Sale of Alcohol Bill to outline how she intends to implement these reforms. Speaking at the event, an Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar, said: 

“I believe the reforms that Minister McEntee is proposing will be good for hospitality businesses, boost the wider experience economy, and generate employment. It will also give people and performers more autonomy about how, when and where they socialise. Ireland’s licensing laws are out of date. 

"Our nightlife does not compare favourably with that of other European countries when it should be as good as anywhere in Europe. Rural pubs are closing, as have many nightclubs in urban areas, while the number of off-licences is increasing. It is not all about alcohol and should not be, but is part of the picture. It’s about cutting red tape and streamlining regulation. These reforms should be seen in the wider context of the government’s efforts to improve the cultural and entertainment offering in our town, cities and rural areas.” 

Minister McEntee said it is vitally important that we retain restrictions on the sale of alcohol and on who is permitted to sell it, and to whom. These proposals will ensure that the sale of alcohol will remain closely regulated. Ireland will maintain a restrictive licensing system in general, with licenses only granted by the courts – with objections allowed from fire authorities, the HSE, An Garda Síochána and local communities. In addition, a representative of a local authority and local people with a genuine interest may object to the granting or renewal of a licence. 

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