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Changes to licensing laws move forward

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Communities Minister Paul Givan introduced a liquor licensing Bill in the Assembly this afternoon.

This is the first stage in the process to amend the law on the sale of alcoholic drinks in Northern Ireland and follows a public consultation on the issue in 2012.

The Bill the Minister introduced includes:-

– Restrictions on advertising of alcoholic drinks in supermarkets and off-sales;

– Introduction of occasional additional late opening for certain licensed premises;

– Extension of “drinking-up” time;

– Minor change to Easter opening hours;

– Alignment of alcohol and entertainment licences in licensed premises allowed late opening; and

– Changes in relation to children on licensed premises and registered clubs.

Speaking after the introduction of the Bill, the Minister said: “The changes I am proposing strike the necessary balance between on the one hand, controlling the sale of alcoholic drinks and protecting the public interest, and on the other hand ensuring local businesses in the hospitality sector can continue to provide a high level of service to their customers.

“It is likely to take eight months for the Bill to complete its passage through the Assembly so any changes to the law are unlikely to take effect until the middle of next year.”

Further information on the review of liquor licensing can be found on the DfC website

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