112. Deputy Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his views on home delivery of alcohol in view of a report (details supplied) calling for legislation to regulate this practice; his plans in this regard; the position regarding the difficulties in enforcing sale of alcohol legislation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38220/18]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The statutory position is that section 31 of the Intoxicating Liquor Act 1988, as amended, makes provision for offences relating to the sale and delivery of alcohol products to persons under the age of 18 years. It is an offence under section 31(2) for a licensee to sell or deliver, or to permit any other person to sell or deliver, alcohol products to any person for consumption off his or her licensed premises by a person under the age of 18 years in any place except with the explicit consent of the person's parent or guardian in a private residence in which he or she is present either as of right or with permission. The penalty on conviction for this offence is a fine of up to €1,270 for a first offence and up to €1,904 for a second or subsequent offence. In addition, the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2000 provides for the mandatory temporary closure of licensed premises in cases where a licensee is convicted of an offence under section 31 of the 1988 Act (up to 7 days for a first offence, or at least 7 and not more than 30 days for a second or subsequent offence).
Under section 17(3) of the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2003, it is an offence for a licensee, with intent to evade the conditions of the licence, to take intoxicating liquor from the licensed premises for the purpose of its being sold on the account or for the benefit or profit of the licensee, or to permit any other person to do so. The penalty on conviction is a fine of up to €1,500 for a first offence and up to €2,000 for a second or subsequent offence. As the Deputy is aware, enforcement of the licensing laws is a matter for the Gardaí.
In its 2008 Report, the Government Alcohol Advisory Group considered issues relating to distance sales of alcohol products. It took the view that sales of alcohol products which have been ordered by telephone or text messaging and which are paid for on delivery do not comply with licensing law requirements and are, therefore, illegal. The Group recommended that the Gardaí target dial-a-can and similar delivery services with a view to prosecuting the offending licensees.
I am aware of concerns raised about this issue in the context of the publication of the Report referred to by the Deputy, and I note the call from Dr Geoffrey Shannon for further regulation of the area of alcohol home delivery in the forthcoming Public Health Alcohol Bill. That Bill is being taken forward by the Minister for Health and any proposed amendments are a matter for that Department in the first instance. I look forward to publication of the Report and I am sure that recommendations therein, whether they relate to legislation or to other Actions, will be given proper consideration by all relevant Departments and Agencies.