Off-licence sales are no longer permitted after 10.00 pm under the new Intoxicating Liquor Act, with effect from Wednesday 30 July. Under the new licensing laws, off-licence sales of alcohol are restricted to the hours of 10.30 am to 10.00 pm and between 12.30 pm and 10.00 pm on Sundays.
Jim McCabe, chairman of the National Off-Licence Association, expressed concern that customers have not had adequate time to become aware of the new restriction on opening hours for off-licences, which was passed into law last month. “Our members around the country are telling us that their customers did not realise that the new earlier closing time came into effect before the end of July and members themselves are surprised that the new restrictions on opening hours were introduced at such short notice”, he said.
The NOffLA chairman said that it was the Association’s belief the new trading hours would be introduced at a later stage. “When the new legislation was introduced the Minister for Justice Equality and Law Reform insisted that mixed retailers who sell alcohol should agree to abide by a code of practice in recognition of the recommendations of the Alcohol Advisory Group, some of which are adopted in the new licensing laws.
It was expected that the new trading hours would have been brought into effect at the same time as the proposed code of practice and the fact that this is not happening has caused a substantial degree of confusion amongst the public and dissatisfaction amongst specialist off-licences”, he added.