Northen Irish pubs face penalty points

By Gurjit Degun

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Northern ireland

Northern Ireland pubs will need stricter ID policies
Northern Ireland pubs will need stricter ID policies
Pubs in Northern Ireland face penalty points if caught serving underage drinkers, in radical new plans by the Irish Assembly. The law is proposed...

Pubs in Northern Ireland face penalty points if caught serving underage drinkers, in radical new plans by the Irish Assembly.

The law is proposed under the Licensing and Registration of Clubs (Amendment) Bill and has completed its final stage, looking to begin in September.

Pubs will receive five or six penalty points if convicted of serving underage drinkers. If they receive ten, they will be forced to close for between one week and three months.

The new measure also allows for on the spot closures of licensed premises in the event of disorder or expected disorder for up to 24 hours.

A consultation on minimum pricing is currently underway.

Social development minister Alex Attwood said: "I have no issue with the sensible consumption of alcohol. The vast majority of licensees are good and vigilant business men and women, making a living, helping the economy and boosting tourism. My issue is with the misuse of alcohol, and its effect on health and crime.

"Selling drink to people below the age of 18 is wrong and reckless I welcome the Assembly supporting me in premises being automatically closed for a significant period if they do this more than once. It is also fitting that where there is disorder in premises then that disorder should cease straight away with on the spot closures to protect the public."

Colin Neill, chief executive of trade body Pubs of Ulster, welcomed the changes.

He added: "The below cost sale of alcohol by supermarkets is still a major burden on the industry and we will be awaiting the launch of the joint consultation on minimum pricing by the Department for Social Development and the Department of Health, continuing our call for them to lead the way and introduce effective legislation that will address the issue before the rest of the UK."

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