Lisburn Councillor Alexander Redpath has welcomed changes to licensing laws, which it is hoped could give a boost to local pubs and bars by extending opening hours.
The proposals make a number of recommendations including extending “drinking up time” from 30 minutes to an hour and reforming Easter opening times.
Pubs would also be allowed to sell alcohol until 2am on up to 12 occasions a year.
“The council has a limited role in regulating the sale of alcohol in the city through our control of entertainment licenses, which are a pre-requisite to obtaining an occasional license to sell alcohol until 1am,” explained Mr Redpath.
“Our powers under these proposals are being reformed and a number of other measures are being introduced.
“There are a number of these proposals I welcome.
“I believe allowing pubs to apply for up to twelve 2am licenses a year will facilitate weddings and other special occasions.
“I welcome proposals to allow small, often rural, pubs the option of applying for up to eighty-five 1am licenses a year.
“Finally I believe extending ‘drinking up time’ to one hour is an excellent suggestion as it discourages people from finishing up too quickly which has public health advantages.
“While these proposals are quite moderate it is important to get the balance right between not encouraging excessive drinking, which puts peoples’ health at risk, while giving a boost to the local hospitality industry and tourism.”