Northern Ireland Assembly
Communities Committee Publishes Report on Liquor Licensing Law Ahead of Consideration Stage Debate
The Assembly’s Committee for Communities has published its report on the new Licensing and Registration of Clubs (Amendment) Bill. The Committee report contains a number of important proposals and amendments which, if passed by the Assembly, will see the most comprehensive changes to liquor licensing laws here since 1996.
Speaking before the Consideration Stage debate, Committee Chairperson Paula Bradley MLA said:
“Since December 2020, my Committee has been examining the new Licensing and Registration of Clubs (Amendment) Bill, which will bring long awaited changes to liquor licensing laws here.
“During our consideration of the Bill, we held over 24 meetings, examined 58 written submissions and heard the views of over 33 organisations and individuals. We also held an online event with young people to get their views on the elements of the Bill that would impact them directly.”
Ms Bradley continued:
“My Committee has put forward a number of important amendments that have been accepted by the Minister. These include: the removal of current restrictions on licensed premises over the Easter weekend, additional Sunday opening times to reflect current weekday and Saturday hours and an increase in the number of days, from 85 to 104 per year, that small pubs and registered clubs can apply for a late licence.
“Committee Members also proposed a new key amendment which would introduce a licence allowing local producers to operate a taproom during limited hours for 104 days a year.
“We are also pleased that the Minister has agreed to consult this summer on our proposal for alcohol to be sold in cinemas. If no serious concerns are raised, a new regulation on this will be brought to the Assembly in the Autumn.”
Ms Bradley concluded:
“Throughout our consideration of the Bill, we have aimed to ensure a balanced approach. The new law must support our hospitality and tourism industries, particularly as we emerge from the pandemic. It also includes measures to promote responsible alcohol consumption, such as a new restriction on alcohol advertising. We have included a further amendment which places a statutory duty on the Department of Health to legislate for minimum unit pricing within three years.
“We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who provided their views on the detail of the Bill. This has, we feel, helped us to ensure that this new law will be robust and will continue to meet the needs of our society as a whole for years to come.”
The Minister for Communities has also accepted a Committee amendment to review the new law in three years and every five years after that and to publish guidance once the new law is enacted.
Notes to Editor:
- Read the full Committee Report.
- The Consideration Stage of the Licensing and Registration of Clubs (Amendment) Bill will take place on Tuesday, 8 June 2021. Check the Indicative timings for the Consideration Stage debate and watch live on the Assembly's TV site.
The Committee for Communities membership is:
Paula Bradley MLA (Chairperson)
Kellie Armstrong MLA (Deputy Chairperson)
Andy Allen MLA
Mark H Durkan MLA
Alex Easton MLA
Sinéad Ennis MLA
Fra McCann MLA
Karen Mullan MLA
Robin Newton MLA
Media enquiries to:
Deputy Communications Officer
Northern Ireland Assembly
Phone: 028 9052 5938
Mobile: 078 998 64368
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