734. Deputy Pa Daly asked the Minister for Justice her views on the regulatory and legislative challenges posed by drink delivery services; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [52353/21]
Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): As the Deputy will be aware, the Justice Plan 2021 and the Programme for Government commits to reviewing and modernising alcohol licensing.
My Department has been actively engaged with the Night-Time Economy Taskforce looking at innovative approaches to support and develop a vibrant, diverse night-time culture and economy in Ireland. Reforming and modernising our licensing law is an important part of how we do that.
On 15 September 2021, the Government approved the drafting of the General Scheme of the Sale of Alcohol Bill 2021 to reform and modernise licensing laws in Ireland.
The outdated Licensing Acts, Registration of Clubs Acts, and the Public Dance Hall Act 1935, will all be repealed and replaced with updated and streamlined 21st century provisions relating to the sale, supply and consumption of alcohol in licensed premises and registered clubs. This will reform, streamline and simplify our licensing laws.
In assessing whether a review of legislation is required in relation to the delivery of alcohol, it is essential that there is a clear understanding of what the current regulations are under existing legislation.
While there is no dedicated licence for online sales of intoxicating liquor, licensees of licensed premises may engage in online sales subject to certain restrictive conditions. Under existing legislation where alcohol is purchased online, the same restrictions on the sale and supply of intoxicating liquor apply, including the restrictions in relation to hours of trading and the provisions in relation to the sale and supply of intoxicating liquor to young persons.
There is substantial existing legislation to regulate the delivery of alcohol services in Ireland.
However, I do appreciate that habits of consumers have been affected by the pandemic and the share of purchases online has increased substantially. These changes may be temporary or they may be the beginning of longer term trends that require further regulation. It is in that context and in light of the planned updating of the alcohol licensing legislation we are considering appropriate regulation of this service.