427. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality her views on a matter (details supplied) regarding taxi drivers; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [1158/15]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): As the Deputy will appreciate, I am not in a position in my capacity as Minister for Justice and Equality to provide legal advice in response to Parliamentary Questions. The general position, however, is that conditions applicable to the sale and supply of intoxicating liquor are set out in the Licensing Acts 1833 to 2011. Under section 17(3) of the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2003, it is already 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, including taxi drivers or other individuals, to do so.
The Government Alcohol Advisory Group considered specific issues relating to 'distance sales' of intoxicating liquor in its 2008 Report. The Group drew attention to the requirement that payment must be made as part of the transaction in such cases, e.g. on-line shopping, and not later on delivery of the product. The Group noted that sales of intoxicating liquor which had been ordered by telephone or otherwise and which were paid for on delivery were illegal transactions and recommended that the Gardaí should target such delivery services with a view to prosecuting the offending licensees. Any information concerning transactions of this nature which are contrary to the provisions of the Licensing Acts should, therefore, be brought to the attention of the Gardaí for investigation and possible prosecution.
Moreover, under section 31 of the Intoxicating Liquor Act 1988 (as amended), it is an offence for a licensee to sell or deliver, or to permit any other person to sell or deliver, alcohol to any person for consumption off his or her 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.