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New Bill tackles under-age drinking

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A new Bill will outline penalties for pubs selling alcohol to under age customers

A new Bill will outline penalties for pubs selling alcohol to under age customers

A new Bill will outline penalties for pubs selling alcohol to under age customers

Pubs caught serving drink to under-age customers in Northern Ireland twice will be closed.

A Bill has been passed by the Assembly to reduce alcohol consumption.

The measures were included in the amended Licensing and Registration of Clubs Bill and are expected to be in place by September.

Pubs, clubs, hotels and off licences convicted of selling alcohol to minors will be awarded five or six penalty points - once they have accumulated 10 they will face a closure of anywhere from a week to three months.

The powers will also see on-the-spot closures up of to 24 hours for venues in the event of disorder, as well as new restrictions on irresponsible drinks promotions.

Social Development Minister Alex Attwood said: "I have no issue with the sensible consumption of alcohol.

"My issue is with the misuse of alcohol, and its effect on health and crime. Selling drink to people below 18 is wrong and reckless - I welcome the Assembly supporting me in premises being automatically closed for a significant period if they do this more than once.

"It is also fitting that where there is disorder in premises then that disorder should cease straight away with on the spot closures to protect the public."

The number of late bars available to clubs will be increased to 85, and younger members of sporting clubs will be allowed to remain in the bar area until 10pm.

Mr Attwood added: "This new legislation has come about after extensive consultation with the public. I have listened to them and this is a direct response to their concerns."

PA