Serving alcohol at outdoor seating does not breach licensing laws, says barrister
It comes after Gardaí said pubs and restaurants serving alcohol at newly set up outdoor seating areas was "illegal".
Serving alcohol at outdoor seating does not breach licensing laws, according to barrister Constance Cassidy.
The author of Cassidy on the Licensing Acts, described as the definitive guide for licensing acts in Ireland, said that there has been no breach of licensing laws by pubs serving alcohol outside their premises.
The Senior Counsel told RTÉ Radio’s Today with Claire Byrne that in her opinion the drinking of alcohol outside premises would not breach licensing laws as long as the transaction of purchasing the alcohol took place on the licensed premises.
It comes after Gardaí said that pubs and restaurants serving alcohol at newly set up outdoor seating areas was "illegal" in a statement on Sunday.
"From a licensing perspective, I do not agree that the outside drinking spaces are illegal. The licensing laws do not prohibit the consumption of alcohol outside licensed premises with a bar in a public place," she said.
Cassidy also said that there was no need for Gardaí to exercise discretion in policing outdoor drinking, as had been suggested by the acting Minister for Justice Heather Humphreys on Sunday, provided there were no public order offences.
Cassidy did however acknowledge that in some cases there could be local authority by-laws that prohibit the consumption of alcohol in public places.
"The only circumstances where there is illegality is where the relevant local authority has enacted a by-law prohibiting the consumption of alcohol in a public place," she continued.
"I think the confusion has arisen in this way, there are three regulatory regimes in play, the Covid regulations, the licensing law, and the local authority law and maybe that's why there is confusion.
"So, if there is a breach of Covid [regulations] that's an illegality, if there's a breach of local authority law, there's an illegality."