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Minister to review publican penalties on serving intoxicated customers

A review of the penalties on publicans serving alcohol to intoxicated customers has been ordered by the Minister for Justice Alan Shatter following the recent acquittal of two bar staff on manslaughter charges over the death of Graham Parish, a 26 year-old Englishman who died in Hayes Hotel in Thurles in 2008 as a result of acute alcohol poisoning.

The review is therefore expected to take place as part of the current overhaul of licensing laws under the forthcoming Sale of Alcohol Bill.

At present the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2003 enables fines of up to €1,500 to be imposed on publicans serving alcohol to customers who’re proved to be intoxicated.

As a result of the recent court case, Alcohol Action Ireland has called for the mandatory training of bar staff and publicans, a view shared to a great extent by a recent motion at the VFI AGM that all new entrants to the bar trade must be trained and qualified as a prerequisite to obtaining a licence.

Although ordering the acquittal of the two barmen concerned in the Hayes Hotel case, Judge Feeney did state that the two men were grossly negligent in allowing Graham Parish to be served eight measures of spirits in a single glass.
However the deceased had nevertheless decided to consume the drink of his own volition, a “supervening event” that broke the chain of causation between the accused’s gross negligence and his death, so the State had failed to prove that this was the cause of his death.

Licensing law expert Constance Cassidy SC said the case broke new ground because it represented the first attempt by the State to argue that a service provider should be held criminally responsible for the endangerment of life caused by a product.
“It represented a worrying departure from the notion of personal responsibility and was recognised as such by the judge,” she said.

The parents of the deceased, David and Julie Parish, are taking a civil case in the High Court against the Mulcahy Hotel group trading as Hayes Hotel Limited.

A review of the penalties on publicans serving alcohol to intoxicated customers has been ordered by the Minister for Justice Alan Shatter.

A review of the penalties on publicans serving alcohol to intoxicated customers has been ordered by the Minister for Justice Alan Shatter.

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