NI: Rules on sale of alcohol in pubs and clubs to be eased

NI: Rules on sale of alcohol in pubs and clubs to be eased

Some restrictions on the sale of alcohol in pubs and nightclubs are set to be relaxed under new proposed liquor licensing legislation.

Communities Minister Carál Ní Chuilín yesterday announced plans for a bill introducing changes to late opening hours for pubs, Easter trading arrangements, advertising in supermarkets, and special events.

The headline measure is the introduction of an occasional additional late opening hour for certain licensed premises and changes to bring Easter opening hours for public houses in line with the rest of the year.

The bill will also provide for an extension of drinking-up time; the alignment of the alcohol and entertainment licensing systems; changes relating to children on licensed premises; prohibition of self-service and vending machines; formal approval for codes of practice on responsible retailing; and changes to the law affecting private members clubs.

“I believe these proposals represent a balanced package of measures aimed at tackling alcohol misuse and promoting responsible consumption, whilst providing vital support for the hospitality industry,” Ms Ní Chulín said.

“This support is needed now more than ever as the industry begins its recovery from COVID-19.”

The minister added: “The changes will also enable local drinks producers to sell their products directly to the public in limited circumstances, make changes to the law affecting registered private clubs and allow changes to permitted hours at major events, such as last year’s Open golf championship.

“The amendments will also include new restrictions on advertising of alcoholic drinks and introduce a statutory code of practice on responsible retailing.”

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