Ahern signs order for new alcohol laws
Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern today signed the order to allow new restrictions on alcohol sales to come into force from next week.
The new law also provides for the introduction of fines for those found drunk in a public place.
The Intoxicating Liquor Act 2008 will come into force next Wednesday and will allow gardai to seize alcohol from minors, as well as setting new hours for off-licence alcohol sales.
Increased fines will also be applied to those who break the law on alcohol sales and there will be a court application process for those seeking a licence to sell wine.
“The Act places restriction on the availability and visibility of alcohol and provides for more effective enforcement to deal with the consequences of alcohol abuse,” Mr Ahern said.
He said those under 18 would only be prosecuted under the new laws where there was “a failure to cooperate”.
“These new powers will therefore not only assist the Gardaí in responding to, and
preventing, unacceptable behaviour but they have the potential to enable the Gardaí to achieve that end while reducing the time-consuming activities connected with prosecutions and court appearances.”
Provisions to ensure the separation of alcohol from other products in supermarkets and convenience stores, will not commence at this time, the Minister said.
He has agreed that retailers may adopt a voluntary code in this area, but warned that he had “reserved the option” to trigger the relevant section of the act if this does not prove effective.
Extended opening hours by nightclubs and bars will also be subject to stricter conditions under the Act.
The new law gives effect to a number of recommendations by a Government advisory group on alcohol published in March.
The group expressed particular concern about the increase in the number of supermarkets, convenience stores and petrol stations with off-licences, as well as the conditions under which alcohol is promoted and sold in these locations.