A new Bill to modernise liquor licensing laws has been introduced in the Assembly by Finance Minister Conor Murphy on behalf of Communities Minister Carál Ní Chuilín.
Among many changes, the bill says certain licensed premises may apply to a court for late opening hours to allow them to open to 1.00am on weekdays and 12.00 midnight on Sunday. For fuller details follow the link at bottom.
The Licensing and Registration of Clubs (Amendment) Bill had its first stage today and marks the start of the legislative process for bringing about important and long awaited changes.
Minister Ní Chuilín said: “The reform of licensing is a priority for this Executive under the New Decade, New Approach Deal and it is excellent to have introduced this Bill in the Chamber today. With the Covid-19 crisis, it has understandably been slightly delayed and as we still navigate our way through this pandemic, the challenge it is presenting to our hospitality industry is clear for all to see.
“This Bill will now move through the legislative process and be scrutinised by Assembly colleagues, but I hope it gives those in the industry assurance that we are working to modernise the sector. I appreciate that we are currently working our way through the Covid crisis but I am confident that the Bill will provide a more flexible licensing framework that will undoubtedly assist the sector to rebuild following the Covid crisis, when our society can operate under more normal circumstances.”
The Minister added that she also has to be incredibly mindful of the significant impact of alcohol on public health.
She added: “This Bill has attempted to strike a balance between recognising the role licensed premises have in their local community as places to socialise and as providers of employment, alongside ensuring protections are in place to help tackle the harms that alcohol can cause in our society.”
The Bill will have its Second Stage in the Assembly on 3 November 2020. The full Bill can be viewed at: www.niassembly.gov.uk/assembly-business/legislation/2017-2022-mandate/primary-legislation---bills-2017---2022-mandate/