Wednesday, 18 May 2011
Department of Justice, Equality and Defence
Liquor Licensing Laws
Question 164: To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will consider reducing the cost of special exemption orders required by nightclubs from €410 to €200 on the basis that the current charge is a disincentive to nightclubs operating additional nights thus costing jobs and excise and VAT revenues to the State; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12064/11]
Special exemption orders which permit extended opening hours may be sought from the District Court for special occasions. A special exemption order expires where it extends to any Monday that is not a public holiday at 1.00 a.m., and in other cases at 2.30 a.m. Drinking-up time of 30 minutes is also permitted.
The increase in fees applicable to such orders provided for in the District Court (Fees) Order 2008 (SI 202 of 2008) was the first such increase since 2004. The current court fee is €300. While I am aware of the pressures on licensees, there is a need to maintain a balance in this matter and I am satisfied that the current fee is warranted in view of the very considerable costs to the State which arise from late night drinking.
Question 165: To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to amend the licensing system that will govern the opening hours of nightclubs; his views that there could be potential positive tourism benefits to such a move; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12065/11]
Question 166: To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will expedite the sale of alcohol Bill in order to allow for the early introduction of a nightclub permit in view of the fact that no such definition of a nightclub exists in current legislation; the details of the nightclub permit that is to be introduced as part of the sale of alcohol Bill; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12066/11]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 165 and 166 together.
The Government Legislation Programme provides for publication of the Sale of Alcohol Bill in late 2011. This Bill will update the law relating to the sale, supply and consumption of alcohol on licensed premises by repealing the Licensing Acts 1833 to 2010, as well as the Registration of Clubs Acts 1904 to 2008, and replacing them with provisions more suited to modern conditions. It will include provisions relating to the operation of nightclubs. As regards the contents of the Bill, I intend to consult with relevant interests, including the nightclub sector, before finalising its provisions.