Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Questions (489, 490, 491, 492)

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

489. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to introduce a new licence to facilitate venues primarily devoted to music to operate outside of the current licensing Acts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19132/19]

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Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

490. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if consideration will be given to delegating two local authorities the entitlement to grant a new form of music licence to facilitate venues primarily devoted to music to operate outside of the current licensing Acts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19133/19]

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Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

491. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if a review will be initiated of the licensing Acts to enable venues that are predominantly committed to the enjoyment of music to operate outside the current licensing Acts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19134/19]

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Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

492. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if consideration will be given to granting venues devoted predominantly to the enjoyment of music their own specific licences in order that they are not exposed to the large costs of current licences; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19135/19]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 489 to 492, inclusive, together.

The current position is that, under the provisions of the Licensing Acts 1833 to 2018 a licence under those Acts, issued by the Revenue Commissioners following submission of an appropriate court certificate by the applicant, is required in order to permit the sale, supply or exposure for sale of intoxicating liquor in specified premises. Such licences are renewed annually.

With regard to the question of delegating functions to local authorities, the Deputy may wish to be aware that the performance of music and public entertainment in premises, irrespective of whether the premises are licensed for the sale, supply and consumption of intoxicating liquor, is regulated by Part IV of the Public Health Acts Amendment Act 1890. Part IV of this Act applies to premises located in urban areas where an urban authority has adopted the appropriate provisions. I understand that local authorities that have adopted Part IV include Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Waterford. Where Part IV applies, premises that are ordinarily used for public music or other entertainment of like kind must be licensed under the 1890 Act. Such licences are issued by the District Court.

In its Second Interim Report issued in July 2002, the Commission on Liquor Licensing concluded that the best and fairest way of dealing with licensing applications is through a court-based system. It noted that such a system is transparent, fair and accessible. It also noted that a court-based system is the best way of dealing with potentially contentious issues that require the balancing of rights of relevant stakeholders.

I am, of course, aware of the current debate concerning the promotion and fostering of a more diverse and vibrant night time culture. While I am in principle in favour of enhancements to current arrangements, I do not have immediate plans to amend the law in this area and any such changes to the law would, of course, require proper consultation with relevant stakeholders, including representative bodies, groups representing local residents, the local authorities and An Garda Síochána.

I am also conscious that any change would need to be organised and managed in a manner that will not cause undue inconvenience or nuisance to local residents nor create an undue risk to public order. Any proposed changes would also need to have regard to the preservation of a fair competitive environment for competing businesses.