More needs to be done to liberalise our licensing laws around Easter, Alliance MLA Stewart Dickson has said.
The East Antrim MLA said a change to the laws here was long overdue, meaning Northern Ireland could be losing out on tourism and hospitality business, particularly when compared to the Republic of Ireland.
“This week, the Irish Government made moves to lift the ban on the sale of alcohol on Good Friday that will see the start of liberalisation of laws in relation to that. That will attract more tourists and hospitality businesses, who will see the south as an attractive destination in line with what they enjoy elsewhere.
“There is an understandable need to balance support for tourism, business and the social needs of locals against health issues and alcohol-related crime. However, more could be done to liberalise our own licensing laws, particularly at Easter.
“We need a functioning Executive so we can make moves to reform Easter opening hours for licensed premises. The current approach is not limiting consumption over these days - rather than consuming alcohol within a set period of time in a bar, individuals simply drink as much as they like in their own home.
“We need to take the opportunity to give as much of a boost as we can for our tourism and hospitality sectors.”