Home > The Sale of Alcohol Bill (2022): an analysis of children’s rights impacts.

Bartlett, Ollie (2023) The Sale of Alcohol Bill (2022): an analysis of children’s rights impacts. Donegal: Alcohol Forum Ireland and Irish Community Action on Alcohol Network.

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Alcohol licensing in Ireland historically developed in a fragmented manner though multiple pieces of overlapping legislation. The Irish Government have championed the Sale of Alcohol Bill 2022 on the basis that it will consolidate and simplify existing licensing law, and as an exercise in better regulation this is to be welcomed. However, a legislative exercise of this magnitude should not miss other opportunities to improve the way in which other issues are treated. Unfortunately, the Sale of Alcohol Bill 2022 misses the opportunity to amend Irish alcohol licensing law so that it protects children’s rights. To date, no meaningful consideration has been given in the various licensing laws to children’s rights such as the right to health, right to development, and right to leisure. If anything, the Bill actually makes it harder for children to enjoy many of these rights, and does not adequately grapple with the complexity of legislating in a manner that both protects children and respects the protections for the family that are set out in the Irish constitution. This report provides legal analysis to illustrate these issues, and explores possible arguments that public health and children’s rights advocates could employ in the debate on the future of Irish alcohol licensing law.

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