Alcohol sales allowed on Sundays from 10:30 a.m., and pubs can serve alcohol daily until 12:30 p.m. under new rules (2023)

Supermarkets and unlicensed shops will be able to sell alcohol on Sundays from 10.30am as part of a reform of licensing hours to be discussed by the Cabinet

Under current regulations, supermarkets cannot sell alcohol until 12:30 on Sundays.

However, this will be adjusted to the remaining days of the week and the sale of alcohol will be allowed from Monday to Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

Justice Minister Helen McEntee is presenting the government with proposals for new legislation that will introduce significant changes to licensing rules.

Opening hours will not change on Christmas Day, when all pubs and nightclubs will have to close.

After the ban on closing pubs was lifted a few years ago, restaurants will still be able to serve customers on Good Friday.

Under the new form of licensing rules, pubs will be able to operate until 12.30pm every evening of the week.

The new rules will also make it easier for nightclubs to open until 6 a.m., with last orders having to be taken at 5 a.m.

This morning, Ms McEntee will present a memo to Cabinet in which she seeks to modernize the country's outdated licensing laws.

Under current legislation, pubs must stop serving at 11.30pm on Monday to Thursday, and at 12.30pm on Friday and Saturday, with final orders placed at 11pm on Sunday.

This will now be standardized across all seven days of the week, with pubs able to open from 10.30am to 12.30pm every day.

In a move to bring Ireland in line with other European countries, nightclubs will be able to stay open until 6am - provided alcohol cannot be served after 5am and dancing can continue until closing time.

Late bar opening hours will remain at 2.30am and a new late bar permit will be required to serve later than regular pubs.

As part of the reforms, a new licensing system will be introduced for night bars and nightclubs. The Minister wants the regulations to be adopted next year as a basis for changing opening hours.

In government, Ms McEntee will formally seek permission to begin the process of drafting an alcohol sales bill to replace a patchwork of 100 laws - some of them more than 200 years old and two-thirds of them predating the founding of the country.

Once in force, the bill will create a single legal act regulating the sale of alcohol.

The new regulations are also intended to support the development of the night economy.

A government source said the new regulations "will emphasize that the sale of alcohol cannot be treated as the sale of any other good."

“We must maintain restrictions on its sale and who can sell it to whom. Thanks to these proposals, the sale of alcohol will continue to be strictly regulated," he said.

Ireland will maintain a restrictive licensing system under which licenses will only be issued by the courts and objections will be allowed from fire authorities, local authorities, the HSE, An Garda Síochána and local communities.

By law, the interests of public health officials, police officers, the local community and the safety of people on licensed premises will be given priority.

The new conditions for operating a late bar or nightclub will include the requirement to have a CCTV system on the premises and for security staff to be appropriately accredited by a Private Security Agency.

The government believes that nightclub permits will largely benefit larger clubs and nightclubs, mainly in cities, while many nightclubs will not use them.

Ms McEntee is expected to say the new rules will ensure strict alcohol regulation while protecting the sustainability of the country's pub and nightclub sector.

Details of the licensing law reforms will be announced after the Council of Ministers agrees to change the rules for opening pubs, clubs and late bars.


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