THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE has affirmed that ‘happy hour’ promotions which reduce the price of alcohol for a fixed window are against the law.
Several pubs in Dublin are planning to offer cut-price pints for limited times this evening, to coincide with Guinness’s ‘Arthur’s Day’ promotion – but the Department has today confirmed that such promotions are illegal under laws introduced almost ten years ago.
“Section 20 of the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2003 provides that a licensee shall not supply intoxicating liquor on the premises at a reduced price during a limited period on any day,” the Department said in a statement to TheJournal.ie after readers pointed out the plans of some watering holes in Dublin.
The law defines a “reduced price” was any price that was less than the price charged when a pub opens in the morning – a clause which still allows pubs to raise prices later at night.
“Contravention of this provision is an offence under licensing law,” the statement continued.
The Department added, however, that enforcement of the law was a matter for the Gardaí and not the Department itself.
Pubs are liable to fines of €1,500 for their first breach of the offence, and €2,000 for any subsequent offence. Breaches of the law would likely be taken into account when each pub applies for a renewal of its alcohol licence.
The legislation which barred temporary drinks promotions in 2003 also banned under 18s from being in a licensed premises unless accompanied by a parent or guardian, or unless they were related to the licence holder.