Cochrane launches liquor licensing in outdoor stadia consultation

Alliance MLA Judith Cochrane has launched a consultation into liquor licensing laws in outdoor stadia here, with the aim of allowing venues to hold a full and permanent license.

The East Belfast MLA said her consultation document would help change the current set-up here, where the legislation regulating the sale and consumption of intoxicating liquor does not currently allow an outdoor arena to apply to hold a full licence.

However, Mrs Cochrane said her consultation could lead to a minor alteration to licensing laws which could boost the chances of stadia hosting major events.

“Our licensing laws have changed little since 1996 but Northern Ireland is a very different place today. We have a proud record of hosting world-class sporting events but our stadia could be prevented from maximising opportunities due to current restrictions.

“Ultimately, licensing laws need to balance the need to protect the public’s health and the need to operate business, and I believe we struck that in 2004 when changes were made to allow indoor arenas in Northern Ireland to apply for a liquor licence.

“State-of-the-art multi-use stadia are not covered by the current legislation. A large amount of public money has been allocated to redevelop them but unless this change happens, we will not see them realise their full potential.”

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