Licensing Bill Stalls As Assembly Falls

Licensing Bill Stalls As Assembly Falls

08 February 2017

The Hospitality Industry expressed its frustration as the much awaited ‘Liquor Licensing Bill’ became a victim of the collapse of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Hospitality Ulster CEO Colin Neill said;

“It is very disappointing that after all of our efforts to have liquor licensing laws modernised, and the considerable work behind the scenes to secure meaningful amendments to those proposed by the Minister, that the Bill is now stalled.

Hospitality Ulster has led this campaign for a number of years and we are determined that progress must be made to remove the outdated laws that are holding us back.”

Hospitality Ulster has continually called for the modernisation of our licensing laws, including;

  • Additional hours for the sale of alcohol
  • Additional drinking up time
  • The relaxation of restrictive licensing hours over Easter
  • A licence to allow craft distillers / brewers to sell their products on site and at events

However, Colin affirms that all is not lost. Outlining what will happen to the existing Bill, he said:

“Although the Bill has technically fallen, there remains hope that if a new Assembly is formed within a reasonable time frame, then a new enhanced Bill (including previously agreed amendments) could be introduced with a short consultation period and requiring limited committee time. That means we could see progress relatively quickly to get us back to where we were before the Assembly collapsed. But in real terms it would be next year before we had the changes enshrined into law.”

Hospitality Ulster are also currently engaging with the Northern Ireland Office and have increased our activity at Westminster to ensure this remains a high priority should direct rule be introduced for a period of time.