Home > Dáil Éireann debate. Extension of the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2021: motion.

[Oireachtas] Dáil Éireann debate. Extension of the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2021: motion. (24 May 2023)

External website: https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/debate/dail/2...

Minister of State at the Department of Justice James Browne: I move:


That Dáil Éireann resolves that the period of operation of sections 1 to 7 and 9 of the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2021 (No. 14 of 2021) be extended for a further period of six months, beginning on the 1st day of June, 2023 and ending on the 30th day of November, 2023.


I am here to introduce a resolution on behalf of the Minister for Justice, Deputy Harris, to extend the sunset clause in the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2021. The extension of this Act will allow the hospitality sector to continue to provide the sale or supply of intoxicating liquor in outdoor seating areas. Deputies will be aware that the Act was introduced in July 2021. The provisions of the Act were in place until 30 November 2021 and have since been extended on three occasions from 1 November 2021 until 31 May 2022, from June to November 2022, and from December 2022 to May 2023……


This important extension also clarifies the position of licence holders who wish to sell and serve alcohol adjacent to a licensed premises in an area approved by the relevant local authority. At present, these premises have no remedy to amend their licences to include that area, under existing legislation. While we are pleased that we are able to address these elements of licensing law through this specific initiative, it is clear the industry and society as a whole need a more comprehensive solution to the inefficiencies and complexities of the current framework. The reform of our liquor licensing laws is a priority for this Government. The general scheme of the sale of alcohol Bill will reform the licensing framework in its entirety to bring it up to the expectations of modern society. The intention of the Bill is not only to modernise our licensing laws but to ensure they better reflect the social, cultural and economic needs of our local communities and businesses.


The Government gave its approval, on 25 October 2022, to the general scheme of the sale of alcohol Bill. The general scheme contains proposals to update the law relating to the sale, supply and consumption of alcohol in licensed premises and registered clubs, by replacing the licensing Acts 1833 to 2018 and the Registration of Clubs Acts 1904 to 2008, with streamlined provisions more suited to modern conditions.


The relevant parts of the general scheme make provision for the amendment of references to licensed premises to include outdoor dining areas. It will include a definition of outdoor dining. Once enacted, the sale of alcohol Bill will remove the need for the renewal of these specific provisions. My Department is prioritising work on drafting the Bill with the aim of having it published in 2023.


It is also important to recognise that harms are caused by the over-consumption and abuse of alcohol. The validity of the concerns raised around these issues are recognised and accepted. Ireland has, for many decades, operated a restricted regime governing the sale of alcohol for these reasons. Given the known social and health effects of alcohol abuse and over-consumption, the sale of alcohol Bill will retain that restrictive approach. The sale of alcohol will continue to require a licence and engagement with a robust licensing process that ensures the necessary protections are in place for all and that standards are upheld by all licenceholders. I am confident that we can modernise and streamline the existing system while keeping public health, safety and public order to the fore.


[For the full debate, click here to the Oireachtas website]

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