Outdoor drinking law to be extended by six months
Legislation allowing for licensed premises to serve alcohol in outdoor seating areas has been extended for a further six months until the end of November 2022.
The Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2021 was introduced in July 2021 after An Garda Síochána pointed out that bars and restaurants were not legally allowed to serve alcohol in outdoor seating areas set up on a temporary basis due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Justice minister Helen McEntee said the law “gave much needed certainty to licenced premises during the pandemic, allowing publicans and restaurant owners across the country serving alcohol in relevant outdoor seating areas to operate lawfully”.
She continued: “While most of the Covid-19 restrictions have now lifted, I am very aware of how hard our pubs, restaurants and nightclubs have been hit by the restrictions of the past two years.
“Many of these businesses are still struggling and it’s important that we give them the assistance they need to thrive as the busy summer season approaches. The extension of this legislation is a key support in that regard.”
The legislation applies where those outdoor seating areas have been permitted by the relevant local authority on public land, such as a path, or where they are on private land abutting the licensed premises, such as an abutting yard, as provided for in the Act.
Mrs McEntee added: “I am committed to enacting alcohol licensing laws that reflect the changing expectations and lifestyles of 21st century Ireland. A modernised licensing system will play an important role in revitalising existing night-time economy businesses.
“To this end, my Department is currently working on the drafting of the general scheme of the Sale of Alcohol Bill. This is advancing well, and it is my intention to progress this legislation in the months ahead with a view to enacting it this year.”