Wednesday, June 15, 2005


McDowell applauded on alcohol reform

Minister for Justice Michael McDowell was reportedly applauded by Fianna Fáil TDs last night after briefing them about his plans to reform Ireland's alcohol-licensing laws.

Despite speculation that the meeting could descend into a row, reports this morning said most of those present were satisfied with the minister's remarks.

Mr McDowell reportedly told the Fianna Fáil TDs that he was determined to press ahead with his planned reforms, but would accept workable amendments put forward by people with concerns.

The minister had been planning to introduce thousands of new licences for continental-style 'café-bars', but was forced to abandon the move due to widespread opposition from Fianna Fáil back-benchers.

They argued, along with the Irish Medical Organisation, that the move would exacerbate Ireland's binge-drinking problem.

Mr McDowell subsequently said he would completely deregulate the sale of alcohol in restaurants instead of introducing café-bar licences.

He said last night that this was always his preferred option, but the café-bar move had been recommended by the Commission on Liquor Licensing.


I too applaud Mr McDowell over this issue. It's time Ireland's silly laws were sorted out and that we treated alcohol in a proper fashion. Mr McDowell's proposals do just that.


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