Colin Neill, Chief Executive of Hospitality Ulster has welcomed the support from the SDLP on their position to ensure that outdated liquor licensing is addressed and that the narrow consultation from the Department for Communities, proposing a special events license for one off events, is scrapped.
“Whilst we welcome the fact that the Open is coming to Northern Ireland, we need to look at the whole picture and not just pander to the company running the event because they want to sell more drink outside of the current permitted hours. This does nothing for local pubs and restaurants who will be missing out on the revenue. Once the Open packs up, the hospitality sector will be left to operate with the same outdated laws that it has struggled with for years. As far as we can see, no legacy will be left behind, but rather we will be enabling a big company to make a fast buck. All of a sudden we are bending over backwards to rush through legislation even though there is an entire Bill sitting on the shelf ready to go that will address many, if not all of these issues.”
“It’s time that an ounce of sense was brought to the debate with proper wide ranging changes to the legislation to sort out our licensing laws.”