Hamilton Welcomes Licensing Bill

“The negative impact of the excessive consumption of alcohol on individuals, families and communities in Northern Ireland is well documented.  Its effects upon people’s health, its impact upon family breakdown and its role in causing anti-social behavior are far too frequent in our society. “I warmly welcome the passage of the Licensing Bill and especially the clauses contained within it which create the powers to outlaw what are deemed irresponsible alcohol promotions. “Alcohol is consumed sensibly by most people but we all know that there are mindless minorities in our communities who take a drink and then proceed to cause harm to themselves or others.  Sadly, there are a small number of licensees who market alcohol deliberately at those who would ruin things for others. “Promotions like all you can drink for a fixed price or drinking games aren’t designed for the sensible consumption of alcohol but rather to get people to drink as much as they can and to hell with the consequences. Whenever we see the impact of excessive alcohol consumption on people individually and society collectively, this sort of behavior is not acceptable. “During the debate on the Licensing Bill in the Assembly I specifically raised my concerns with the Minister that the Bill didn’t address these so-called irresponsible alcohol promotions and if it failed to then the Bill was worthless.  I am glad that he took those points on board and the final Bill creates the power to outlaw certain irresponsible alcohol promotions. “No one wants to see legislation used to target those who enjoy a drink at home or in their local pub or club but those alcohol retailers who sell alcohol in an irresponsible way should be targeted.  I now hope that the alcohol retail sector, knowing that these powers are in place, begin to self regulate better.  They should end irresponsible alcohol promotions voluntarily. “This aspect of this new Bill is just one element of what I hope will be a more robust approach to the negative consequences of alcohol in our society”, he said. ]]>