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Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Alcohol licensing laws relaxed in Northern Ireland

Alcohol licensing laws in Northern Ireland are to be relaxed starting from today.

Hospitality Ulster Group CEO Colin Neil stated that the significant relaxation of licensing laws will bring “modest changes that will make a large difference”.

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The relaxation of laws will see the historically restricted trading hours during Easter being removed, the ‘drinking up time’ being extended from half an hour to one hour, with premises allowed to serve alcohol until 3am on 104 nights per year.

Extended opening hours will be applied on Sundays for the first time as well.

Neil stated that the changes will amount to an additional two-and-a-half hours a week in the sale of alcohol while adding that the new laws are not “revolutionary” but a “sensible, balanced package”.

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He stated, “Hopefully it will give us a shot in the arm, as like traders across Ireland we have been amassing debt, so hopefully…this will add that extra bonus to give us an opportunity,” while adding that there is an appetite for longer opening hours.

It’s understood that there will be staggered late-night openings due to different premises having different preferences, as some premises will be seeking to attract students during the mid-week while others will be seeking to attract tourists at weekends.

The late licenses must be applied by business owners through the courts.

The next phase of relaxation will see further changes being introduced, such as allowing cinemas to sell alcohol and permit craft brewers and distillers to do paid tours with a tap room to allow alcohol tastings.

IMAGE – IMAGE – “Cheers! Dublin Style” by Zach Dischner is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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