'Lack of clarity' in liquor licensing laws allows pubs to deliver pints amid pandemic

A lack of clarity in liquor licensing laws means pubs can operate takeaway or delivery services.

The Irish Times reports Garda HQ sought legal advice on the matter and was told neither practice is an infringement.

Last weekend, drinks for delivery were confiscated by members of the force in Co. Donegal.

However, as long as drinks are paid for at the licensed premises they can be delivered.

Takeaways are also allowed on the condition the alcohol is not consumed in public or within 100m of the pub.

Gardaí have the power to confiscate carry-out drink if they believe it is being sold to be consumed “on the road or in a public place”.

The legal advice says: “Holders of on-licences may deliver intoxicating liquor to consumers for consumption in their private residences where the sale takes place at the licensed premises.

“The law is unclear whether it is lawful for holders of on-licences to pour, prepare or decant intoxicating liquor at the delivery location, which is a public place. Therefore no offence is committed.

“Persons may also attend the licensed premises and collect the intoxicating liquor purchased as a takeaway, and the same would be deemed a reasonable excuse” under Covid-19 restrictions which presently allow people to travel more than 5kms from their homes.

It means the delivery and off-sales of alcohol by pubs is counted as an “essential service” during the lockdown.