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Liquor Licensing Laws.

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 24 February 2009

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Questions (225, 226, 227, 228, 229)

Pat Rabbitte

Question:

263 Deputy Pat Rabbitte asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when the non-commenced sections of the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2008 will be commenced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7103/09]

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Pat Rabbitte

Question:

264 Deputy Pat Rabbitte asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he has received draft voluntary codes on the structural separation of alcohol products from non-alcohol products when non-licensed business is carried on in premises to which an off-licence is attached from the relevant representative bodies as an alternative to section 9 of the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2008; his views of the draft code; if he has engaged in or will engage in consultation with other bodies such as youth and public health bodies on the usefulness of a voluntary code; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7104/09]

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Pat Rabbitte

Question:

265 Deputy Pat Rabbitte asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the timeframe for the introduction of either legislation or voluntary codes to ensure the structural separation of alcohol products from non-alcohol products when non-licensed business is carried on in premises to which an off-licence is attached; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7105/09]

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Pat Rabbitte

Question:

266 Deputy Pat Rabbitte asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when the relevant sections of the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2008 permitting test purchasing by young people aged 15 to 18 will be commenced; the reason this provision has been delayed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7106/09]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 263 to 266, inclusive, together.

As regards implementation of the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2008, the position is that section 9, which provides for the structural separation of alcohol products from other beverages and food products in mixed trading premises, and the test-purchasing provisions of section 14 have not yet been commenced. As the Deputy is aware, during discussions leading up to enactment of the 2008 Act, I gave an undertaking that if the objectives of structural separation could be achieved by means of adherence to a voluntary Code of Practice by the mixed trading sector, I would be prepared to defer implementation of section 9. I stipulated however that implementation of any such Code would be subject to an independent audit and verification process and that if such oversight indicated that the objectives of structural separation were not being achieved, I would have no hesitation in commencing section 9.

I am pleased to say that the Code of Practice and the accompanying oversight arrangements have now been agreed between organisations representing the mixed trading sector and both my Department and the Department of Health and Children. These details will be announced in the near future and I expect to receive the first report on implementation of the Code in September 2009.

Section 14 of the 2008 Act inserted new provisions in the Intoxicating Liquor Act 1988 to permit test purchasing of alcohol by persons who are over 15 but under 18 years of age under the control of the Garda Síochána. The section provides for the issuing of guidelines on the procedures to be followed in test purchasing operations following consultation with the Commissioner of the Garda Síochána and the Minister for Health and Children. A Working Group, comprising representatives of my Department, An Garda Síochána and the Department of Health and Children, has been established to draw up these guidelines and I look forward to receiving their proposals in due course. Training requirements for the implementation of test purchasing are also being assessed at present.

Pat Rabbitte

Question:

267 Deputy Pat Rabbitte asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when the Sale of Alcohol Bill will be published; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7107/09]

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The Government Legislation Programme published on 26 January provides for publication of the Sale of Alcohol Bill in 2009. The Bill will modernise and streamline the laws relating to the sale and consumption of alcohol by repealing the Licensing Acts 1833 to 2008, as well as the Registration of Clubs Acts 1904 to 2008, and replacing them with updated provisions.

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