725. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice the number of special exemption orders granted in 2019 and quarter 1 of 2020, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [9815/21]


Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): Under the provisions of the Courts Service Act 1998, management of the courts is the responsibility of the Courts Service, which is independent in exercising its functions. This includes responsibility for granting applications for special exemption orders of the District Court, exempting the holder of an on-licence from the provisions of the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2003, relating to prohibited hours in respect of licensed premises during the hours and on the occasion specified in the order.
However, in order to be of assistance to the Deputy, I have had enquiries made and the Courts Service has provided the information requested by the Deputy, as set out in the following table.

Year Total Orders Granted
1st January – 31st December 2019 34,808
1st January – 31st March 2020 6,888

Changes to the licensing laws, including efforts to streamline the process for obtaining a licence, are a key part of the Justice Plan 2021 published this week alongside the Department's Strategy Statement for the next three years. As we plan for how our economy will look after the pandemic, the range of cultural offerings available in the night-time economy should broaden.