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Question

650. Deputy Fergus O'Dowd asked the Minister for Justice if she will address a matter in relation to proposed licence reforms (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10979/21]

659. Deputy Ged Nash asked the Minister for Justice her plans to engage in a formal public consultation process in respect of her reported proposals to reform licensing laws to develop the night-time economy; when the process will commence; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [11040/21]

Answer

Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): I propose to take Questions Nos. 650 and 659 together.
The Justice Plan 2021, which I published last week, commits to reviewing and modernising alcohol licensing.
Our hospitality and cultural sectors have been hardest hit by the pandemic, with many pubs and venues not opening their doors for a year. As part of my plan to build a justice system that works for everyone, I want to help and support these businesses as they get back on their feet. But, as we plan how our economy and society will look after the pandemic, I also believe we need to broaden the range of cultural offerings available in the night time economy.
My Department is 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. The work of the Taskforce is ongoing and has included wide stakeholder engagement. A key challenge identified by stakeholders is the outdated alcohol licensing legislation and this will be reflected in the report of the Taskforce. We are working with Minister Catherine Martin and the Taskforce to ensure we can deliver on work of the Taskforce and its recommendations without delay and that is why we set out commitments in the Justice Plan 2021 on this major legislative reform in line with our Programme for Government commitments. It is my firm intention that this reform will be developed with a supportive approach to businesses and the interests of public health, consumers and communities will be central to implementation.
It is my intention to bring forward legislation that will contain proposals to update the law relating to the sale, supply and consumption of alcohol in licensed premises and registered clubs, by replacing both the Licensing Acts 1833 to 2018 and the Registration of Clubs Acts 1904 to 2008 with streamlined provisions more suited to modern conditions.
While the work of the Night Time Economy Taskforce is well-advanced, work on the consolidation and reform of the licensing laws more generally is at an early stage of development. I can assure the Deputy that it is my intention to engage constructively with stakeholders as that work progresses.