The position is that section 32 of the Intoxicating Liquor Act 1988 (as substituted by the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2003) prohibits any person from purchasing intoxicating liquor for delivery to, or consumption by, a person under the age of 18 years, or delivering intoxicating liquor to such a person. It is not unlawful for such a person to purchase or deliver intoxicating liquor for consumption by a person under the age of 18 years in a private residence with the explicit consent of that person's parent or guardian.
Furthermore, section 7 of the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2008 provides that when granting a certificate in respect of a spirit, beer or wine off-licence, the District Court may impose a condition that a CCTV system be installed. This provision was included in the 2008 Act with a view to deterring people from loitering in the vicinity of off-licences and to combating secondary purchasing.
I am not convinced that the introduction of mandatory identification would be feasible or effective in an effort to combat secondary purchasing. Framing legislation to deal with the supply of alcohol to under 18s presents a particular challenge. It must seek to accommodate cases where a parent permits supervised consumption of alcohol by a 17 year old within the family environment while, at the same time, combatting situations where alcohol is purchased by an older sibling, or some other third party, for unsupervised consumption by under-18s in public parks or other outdoor locations.
The Steering Group Report on a National Substance Misuse Strategy, which was published earlier this year, considered the issue of secondary purchasing of alcohol by adults for minors but did not make any recommendations for further legislation in this area. I am however prepared to give serious consideration in the context of the forthcoming Sale of Alcohol Bill to any reasonable and workable proposal to tackle secondary purchasing.