13. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if the licensing Acts can be amended to provide a separate licence for venues which predominantly provide music; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21102/19]
Deputy Charles Flanagan: A licence under the provisions of the Licensing Acts 1833 to 2018 and issued by the Revenue Commissioners following submission of an appropriate court certificate by the applicant is required in order to permit the sale, supply or exposure for sale of intoxicating liquor in specified premises. As the Deputy will be aware, such licences are renewed annually.
The performance of music and public entertainment in premises, irrespective of whether the premises are licensed for the sale, supply and consumption of intoxicating liquor, is regulated by Part IV of the Public Health Acts Amendment Act 1890, which applies to premises located in urban areas where an urban authority has adopted the appropriate provisions. I understand that local authorities that have adopted Part IV to include Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Waterford. Where Part IV applies, premises that are ordinarily used for public music or other entertainment of like kind must be licensed under that legislation. Such licences are issued by the District Court.
I appreciate that Deputy O'Callaghan's concern is to facilitate music and entertainment venues but I do not underestimate the difficulties that would be involved in arriving at a statutory definition of "venues which predominantly provide music" that would faithfully reflect the intentions of this House. I invite Deputy O'Callaghan to assist this debate by making a submission, which I would be happy to give careful consideration to. I am aware of the current debate concerning the promotion and fostering of a more diverse and vibrant night-time culture in and indeed beyond Deputy O'Callaghan's constituency. I have an open mind about enhancements to current arrangements. Any changes to the law in this area would require proper consultation with relevant stakeholders, including representative bodies, groups representing local residents, the local authorities and, not least, An Garda Síochána. I am conscious that any changes would need to be organised and managed in a manner that will not cause undue inconvenience or nuisance to local residents nor create an undue risk to public order. Any proposed changes would also need to have regard to the preservation of a fair competitive environment for competing businesses.