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Question

319. Deputy Michael Lowry asked the Minister for Justice the status of the Sale of Alcohol Bill 2021; if she intends to re-engage with the representatives of organisations (details supplied) before the legislation is finalised and enacted later in 2022; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27014/22]

Answer

Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): The Programme for Government commits to modernising our licensing laws and application processes, and my Justice Plan 2022 commits to publishing and enacting new laws to update and modernise licensing laws.
I am delivering on that commitment by preparing Heads of a General Scheme of a Sale of Alcohol Bill.
The objective of the proposed Bill is to repeal the Licensing Acts 1833 to 2018, the Registration of Clubs Acts 1904 to 2008, and the Public Dance Hall Act 1935, and to replace them with updated and streamlined provisions more suited to the 21st century.
Codifying alcohol licensing law into a single Act will make it more accessible and user-friendly for the licensed trade, courts, Gardaí and the public.
The development of this Bill will take account of concerns on a wide range of issues, including public health, public order and the interests of consumers, communities and businesses.  
As regards consultation with relevant organisations, last November, I launched a wide-ranging consultation to seek the views of the public on the modernisation of Ireland’s licencing laws. The consultation, which ran until 21 January this year, looked at how best to update the existing laws governing the sale and regulation of alcohol in Ireland. Members of the public, academics, sectoral groups, and representative organisations were invited to complete an online survey and/or make a written submission to my Department.
There was a high level of response to the consultation, with in excess of 5,000 responses received. My Department is now reviewing these responses to ensure the reform of the legislation takes account of and is informed by this engagement.
The Deputy may also be aware that, on 10 March, I hosted a consultation webinar and panel discussion event on the reform of the alcohol licensing laws to give an opportunity for further discussion of the issues of concern to stakeholders. Representatives of VFI (Vintners Federation of Ireland) and the LVA (Licensed Vintners Association) took part in a panel discussion at this event.
That webinar can be viewed on my Department’s YouTube channel via the following link:  www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tMtKzd_9jA .
It is intended to progress this legislation in the months ahead. Submissions from stakeholders will of course be carefully considered in the context of publication of the forthcoming Bill. Details of the proposed reform will be included in the General Scheme when published.