Home > Dáil Éireann debate. Question 463 - Legislative progress [Sale of Alcohol Bill 2022] [29745/23].

[Oireachtas] Dáil Éireann debate. Question 463 - Legislative progress [Sale of Alcohol Bill 2022] [29745/23]. (20 Jun 2023)

External website: https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/question/2023...

  1. Deputy Claire Kerrane asked the Minister for Justice when it is expected the Sale of Alcohol Bill 2022 will progress; when it is expected to become law; if it is intended that people will be able to apply to the District Court for new licences in respect of a building that was previously a pub; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29745/23]

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee: The General Scheme of the Sale of Alcohol Bill was published in October 2022 and the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice conducted two pre-legislative scrutiny sessions in January, and published its report in March 2023.

Officials are engaging with the Office of Parliamentary Counsel on the drafting of the Bill, and despite the considerable length of the general scheme, I intend to publish the Bill and introduce it into the Oireachtas this year.

A key objective in reforming our alcohol licensing laws is to ensure that the licensing application process is modernised, efficient, cost-effective and facilitates accountability. In the interests of streamlining the court based system, it is proposed to move all court licensing matters to the District Court instead of the Circuit Court. Therefore, all new applicants will be required to apply to the District Court for a licence. It is intended that applications to renew existing licences that are not the subject of objection will be conducted through a new online system operated by the Courts Service of Ireland.

Modification of the current extinguishment requirement is necessary. The cost of purchasing (or extinguishing) an existing licence is considered to be a financial barrier to entry into the market, especially where the potential market is less profitable, such as in smaller towns and rural areas. It is proposed that the current extinguishment requirement for on-licences will be phased out over three years from enactment of the legislation. Extinguishment is not being totally removed. It will be retained for the purposes of opening new off-licences.

My officials continue to engage with An Garda Síochána to ensure that the Bill will contain all necessary powers of enforcement, including powers to inspect licensed premises and to ensure full compliance with licensing requirements and the need to maintain public order.

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