Alcohol to be served in outdoor areas for another six months

Ministers also discuss imminent plans to recognise the state of Palestine

The Cabinet has agreed to extend a temporary law to allow alcohol to be sold and consumed in outdoor seating areas of pubs and restaurants for the next six months.

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee received Cabinet approval to extend the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2021 for a further period of six months until the end of November.

The law brought about changes to allow for the sale and consumption of alcohol in the relevant outdoor seating areas for licensed premises. It can be extended by six months at a time by resolution of both Houses of the Oireachtas.

The provisions originally formed part of the Government’s Covid-19 response but the Coalition now plans to put these measures on a permanent basis through the forthcoming Intoxicating Liquor Bill 2024.


Meanwhile the three party leaders also briefed Cabinet on plans to recognise the state of Palestine, which could happen as early as Wednesday. The Cabinet endorsed comments by Taoiseach Simon Harris indicating that such recognition would happen before the end of this month. There is ongoing co-ordination with other European capitals ahead of any announcement.

Separately, Minister of State for Disabilities Anne Rabbitte received Government approval to fund an extra €7m worth of assessment of need applications. The assessments for children are to determine if they need disability, health or education supports.

Under a new waiting list initiative the assessments will take place through the procurement of private assessments for long-waiting families. The funding of €6.89 million will allow the HSE to procure up to 2,500 additional assessment of needs, with delivery targeted over the next six months. The funding is in addition to existing HSE core funding of €5 million.

The waiting list initiative will target those families who have been waiting the longest, with the HSE reimbursing clinicians directly through the procurement of capacity from approved private providers.

Demand for assessments of need is escalating, with a 25 per cent year-on-year increase in the number of applications received in 2023

The Department of Children and Equality is also due to immediately explore potentially using the National Treatment Purchase Fund, which aims to reduce the waiting times of patients for treatment on public hospital waiting lists.

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times