NI To Lose Out As ROI Move To Change Easter Licensing Laws

NI To Lose Out As ROI Move To Change Easter Licensing Laws

08 April 2017

Hospitality Ulster CEO Colin Neill comments on the plan to allow ROI pubs and restaurants to sell alcohol on Good Friday.

“Once again we are left lagging behind our second largest tourism market and nearest competitor the Republic of Ireland. With their progressive licensing laws that offer customers what they want and a Tourism VAT rate of 9% it’s Northern Ireland that will lose out, and that’s a fact. You only need to visit Carlingford this Easter and watch the buses arriving from the North to see just how much we lose every Easter.

We totally respect that Easter is an important period for many in Northern Ireland. But having a glass of wine with your lunch or a social pint of beer with your friends and family in a bar or restaurant is not disrespectful, nor does it take away from the importance of Easter.

Allowing pubs and restaurants to sell alcohol over Easter is not about religion, if it were they would ban supermarkets selling alcohol at 8.00am on Good Friday morning. And does anyone really think less alcohol will be consumed? People just bulk buy in advance and drink at home, consuming more alcohol than they would over a normal weekend.

And this is not just about one day; we have restricted sales over the entire Easter weekend. The hospitality industry will lose out on over £16M of income- money that pays the rates and wages, and sustains many small business across the province.

We are a responsible industry and we have worked hard to find a compromise, but we simply cannot be ignored. The NI Assembly had made some progress to amend our licensing legislation, but that Bill fell when the Assembly fell.

We don’t do politics, but this is another clear example of how no devolved Government is impacting our economy and I would appeal to our elected representatives to find a way to re-establish the NI Assembly and implement a Bill that will make real changes to our licensing laws.”

 

ENDS//

 

Press enquiries: Colin Neill 07738354963 – email colin.neill@hospitalityulster.org