Liquor Licensing in Northern Ireland – An update

Since our recent article on calls to reform the liquor licensing regime in Northern Ireland, a licensing amendment Bill has been introduced to the Northern Ireland Assembly by the Minister for the new Department for Communities, Paul Givan.

The measures proposed include:

  • Restrictions on advertising of alcoholic drinks in supermarkets and off-sales and prohibition on self-service and sales by vending machines;
  • Introduction of occasional additional late opening on 12 nights per year until 2am for certain licensed premises;
  • Extension of “drinking-up” time by 30 minutes;
  • Later opening for the Thursday before Good Friday (previously 11pm to Midnight) now 11pm to 1am the following day.
  • Alignment of alcohol and entertainment licences in licensed premises allowed late opening; and
  • Changes in relation to children on licensed premises and registered clubs.

Speaking to the News Letter following introduction of the Bill, Colin Neill of industry body Hospitality Ulster criticised the proposed reforms saying that they do not go far enough. In response, the Minister’s spokeswoman defended the proposals citing the need to regulate the sale of alcohol to ensure the protection of public health and the preservation of public order.

The Bill is likely to take eight months to complete its passage through the assembly where MLAs will be able to debate and amend the proposed measures.

If you require advice in respect of liquor licensing please contact Joe Moore, Real Estate Partner (028 9055 3323;, ) or Aaron Mulholland, Real Estate Associate ( 028 9055 3346;


While great care has been taken in the preparation of the content of this article, it does not purport to be a comprehensive statement of the relevant law and full professional advice should be taken before any action is taken in reliance on any item covered.