Licensing reform bill introduced to Stormont after Covid-19 delay
Legislation to modernise Northern Ireland’s liquor licensing laws has been introduced in the Assembly.
The Licensing and Registration of Clubs (Amendment) Bill, which was delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, was introduced by Finance Minister Conor Murphy on behalf of Communities Minister Carál Ní Chuilín yesterday.
Ms Ní Chuilín said licensing reform remains a “priority” for the Northern Ireland Executive, particularly amid the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic for the hospitality industry.
“This bill will now move through the legislative process and be scrutinised by Assembly colleagues, but I hope it gives those in the industry assurance that we are working to modernise the sector,” she said.
“I appreciate that we are currently working our way through the Covid crisis but I am confident that the bill will provide a more flexible licensing framework that will undoubtedly assist the sector to rebuild following the Covid crisis, when our society can operate under more normal circumstances.”
The minister added that she also has to be incredibly mindful of the significant impact of alcohol on public health.
She said: “This bill has attempted to strike a balance between recognising the role licensed premises have in their local community as places to socialise and as providers of employment, alongside ensuring protections are in place to help tackle the harms that alcohol can cause in our society.”