Dáil Éireann - Volume 459 - 14 December, 1995

Written Answers. - Voluntary Age Card Scheme.

37. Mr. T. Kitt asked the Minister for Justice the plans, if any, she has to introduce ID cards with a view to preventing the sale of intoxicating liquor to people under the age of 18 years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [16542/95]

112. Mr. Ellis asked the Minister for Justice the plans, if any, she has to introduce ID cards with a view to preventing the sale of intoxicating liquor to people under the age of 18 years; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17336/95]

Minister for Justice (Mrs. Owen): I propose to take Questions Nos. 37 and 112 together.

Section 40 of the Intoxicating Liquor Act, 1988, empowers the Minister for Justice to make regulations providing for a national, voluntary, age card scheme as a means of helping to curb the supply of alcohol to persons under [1826] 18 years of age. I have no proposals at present to make such regulations.

I am satisfied that the most acceptable and effective way of complementing the comprehensive set of provisions in the 1988 Act aimed at curbing under-age drinking is through the continued development of voluntary local age card schemes. Such schemes, backed by vigorous community involvement and with continual monitoring are, I believe, capable of making a greater contribution to tackling under-age drinking than a single nationwide scheme.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that more than 110 local schemes are in operation throughout the country and that plans are under way to establish new schemes in other centres. I am also informed that, overall, the schemes are considered to be reasonably successful and beneficial and that they have assisted in reducing the level of alcohol use by persons under the age of 18 years.