Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Questions (108)

Jim O'Callaghan


108. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality when the courts and civil law miscellaneous provisions Bill will be introduced and in particular the provision stating that a certificate under the licensing Acts shall not be granted unless a court is satisfied that permission for development of the premises for the intended use to which the application relates has been obtained from the relevant planning authority; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3128/19]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

The proposed provision to which the Deputy has referred remains part of the General Scheme of the Courts and Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill which has been submitted to the Office of Parliamentary Counsel following the Government Decision of 11 July 2017 that it be submitted for formal drafting. In December 2017 the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice and Equality confirmed that it would not be taking the General Scheme for pre-legislative scrutiny.  

Part 7 of the General Scheme deals with licensing law and includes Head 54, the purpose of which is to require the relevant court, when exercising its oversight role in the licensing system, to ensure that planning permission has been granted for the intended usage of the premises.  It will prevent premises for which planning permission to operate as a restaurant has been obtained from operating as a public house if no planning permission to operate as a public house has been obtained.  The measure is also intended to ensure compliance with applicable fire safety standards for the intended use of the premises.  As such, it remains one of those provisions which remain to be introduced in the form of a Bill under the General Scheme to which the Deputy has referred.

As reflected in the Legislation Programme for the Spring Session 2019 published on 15 January 2019, working priority is currently being given by the Government and the Offices of the Attorney General and of Parliamentary Counsel to the urgent introduction of those legislative measures necessary to deal with the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union on 29 March 2019.  I would therefore anticipate that the likely timeframe for the introduction of the specific measures to which the Deputy has referred will become more apparent once our immediate Brexit legislative priorities have been met and appropriate time can again be given to progressing those Bills such as the Courts and Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill which otherwise form part of the Government's Legislation Programme.