Written Answers. - Alcohol Abuse.

Eamon Ryan


46 Mr. Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he can provide examples from other jurisdictions in which it is a criminal offence for an individual who is of the legal age to consume alcohol to do so if they are not in possession of an ID card; and if evidence can be demonstrated that the prosecution of over 18s for drinking without an ID card has led to a drop in under-age drinking. [17237/03]

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 the requirement will apply to bars but 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, a driver licence or a document issued by a body and in a form prescribed in regulations made by the Minister.
It shall be an offence for a licensee to allow a person under the age of 21 who is unaccompanied by a parent or guardian to be in the bar of licensed premises without an age document. Likewise, it shall be an offence for such a person to enter and remain on licensed premises while not possessing such a document.
I consider that the age document provisions set out in section 15 are reasonable and are justified to improve compliance with the licensing laws by licensees and their enforcement by the Garda. I believe that the mandatory carrying of an age document by persons in the 18 to 20 age group in bars will assist licensees and the Garda in their efforts to enforce the licensing laws, and that it will be supported by the public which is increasingly concerned at the extent of alcohol-related harm in our society. I understand a similar scheme is provided for in New Zealand's liquor licensing code.
Question No. 47 answered with Question No. 24.