New laws to target 'cheap shot' publicans
GARDAI are to be given new powers to clamp down on publicans and disco owners who are plying young people with 'cheap' drink.
The move is being introduced by the Government to help reduce the number of public order offences on the nation's streets after the pubs close.
The new powers will allow gardai additional grounds to challenge the renewal of a pub or club licence.
The details will be included in the Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill, which will be published shortly by Justice Minister Dermot Ahern and is due to be enacted by June.
The provisions will target cheap 'shots' and other under-priced drink promotions, aimed at young customers, which are thought to be a major factor in the level of drunkenness at closing time.
The additional measures are in line with a pledge by the minister last year to introduce restrictions on the advertising and supply of alcohol at reduced prices or free of charge.
The measures will back up fixed penalty charges for drunk and disorderly conduct and will place greater onus on the owners of premises and their staff.
Extended opening hours for bars and nightclubs have been subjected to stricter controls, while in supermarkets, convenience stores and petrol stations, alcohol products must be displayed and sold in a specified area, structurally separated from the rest of the premises.
The bill will also include a provision granting a liquor licence to the new national conference centre, which is due to open in September.