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Outdoor Drinking Laws to be Extended for Six Months

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Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee, received cabinet approval on the 17 May 2022 for an extension to the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2021 (the “Act”) allowing the sale of alcohol by licenced premises in outdoor seating areas to November 2022.

The Act was introduced last year, following assertions by the Gardaí that the sale and consumption of alcohol in outdoor seating areas was not permitted under law.

The Act aims to rectify this by making temporary provisions for the sale or supply of intoxicating liquor in seating areas located outside a licenced premises. The Act deems an outdoor seating area to be part of a licenced premises.  However, it does not permit the sale or supply of alcohol for consumption off the premises.

To avail of the 2021 legislation, the licenced premises must have applied for an outdoor seating permit from their local authority.  We have previously set out in this piece published on 18th May 2021, the requirements for licenced premises to apply for an outdoor seating licence. The fees for applying for an outdoor street furniture licence will be waived for 2022.

The extension of the Act is to be welcomed by the hospitality industry and it is understood that the Minister intends to introduce more permanent measures for the sale of intoxicating liquor in outdoor areas as part of the wider overview of licensing laws in Ireland.

About the author: Hannah Brady, Solicitor on the Litigation and Dispute Resolution Team.