Hospitality Ulster has met with NI Secretary of State and Shadow Secretary of State calling on them to intervene on knee jerk ‘Special Event’ consultation by Department for Communities and to address overall outdated liquor licensing laws.
Hospitality Ulster has met separately with the Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Karen Bradley MP and the Shadow NI Secretary of State Tony Lloyd MP this afternoon at Westminster calling on them to urgently intervene on Northern Ireland’s outdated liquor licensing legislation.
The meetings took place after huge concerns were raised by the hospitality sector and major representative bodies in Northern Ireland who were left flabbergasted that the Department for Communities launched a consultation to make a small tweak in legislation, largely to benefit the company running the hospitality services at the forthcoming British Open in July.
Hospitality Ulster has led the charge to convince elected representative to overhaul the outdated liquor legislation to benefit the sector, enhance the visitor and tourist experience and the wider economy. Whilst there has been significant backing for the changes, little action has been under taken after the collapse of the Assembly.
Colin Neill, Chief Executive, Hospitality Ulster commented after the meetings:
“Whilst we welcome the fact that the Open is coming to Northern Ireland, we need to look at the whole picture and not just pander to the company running the event because they want to sell more drink outside of the current permitted hours.”
“We made it very clear to the Secretary of State and the Shadow Secretary of State that this small change does absolutely nothing for local pubs and restaurants who will be missing out on the revenue. Once The Open packs up, the hospitality sector will be left to operate with the same outdated laws that it has struggled with for years.”
“Just because the big boys roll into town and complains, our civil servants are bending over backwards to rush through legislation even though there is an entire Bill sitting on the shelf ready to go that will address many, if not all of these issues. They need to listen to the rate paying businesses here”
“If this element of the legislation can be changed on a whim, then the wider issues can be dealt with. It couldn’t be more obvious.”
“If this consultation progresses in isolation of wider reform it will be regarded as favouritism towards companies outside Northern Ireland and not looking after the people and businesses the politicians are here to represent.”