Written Answers. - Liquor Licensing Laws.

Jimmy Deenihan

Question:

16 Mr. Deenihan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if tourists visiting here, who are under 21, will have to carry a passport to enter licensed premises under the proposed Intoxicating Liquor Licensing laws; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16238/03]

Section 15 of the Intoxicating Liquor Bill 2003 provides that a licensee shall not allow a person under the age of 21 – other than a person accompanied by his or her parent or guardian – to be in the bar of licensed premises while not in possession of an age document. It should be noted that this requirement applies to the bar only and not to other parts of the premises.

"Age document" is defined in section 15 as including a passport, an identity card issued by a member state of the European Communities and a driver's licence. While the majority of non-national visitors under the age of 21 will be in possession of one of these age documents, it is possible that young visitors from the UK may not possess such a document because of the common travel arrangements.

I accept that it may not be possible to inform intending visitors of the new requirements in advance of their arrival or to create a sufficient general awareness of the need to carry an age document in advance of the main tourist season. I intend to take account of these factors when bringing the Act into operation following its enactment. I will consider delaying implementation of this provision in order to provide sufficient time to operators to incorporate details of the new requirements into relevant promotional and marketing literature for 2004.