Alcohol and Licensing

Hotels In Ireland

Licensing Hotels in Ireland

Anyone interested in setting up and licensing hotels in Ireland should familiarise themselves with the local requirements firstly. As with all investment projects there is useful a significant capital outlay and within a commercial timeline. Choosing a strong professional team is vital to bringing projects in on time. Your advisors will carefully guide and advise you from inception to project delivery.

The following step by step guide is a useful introduction to the criteria that must be met to successfully open and launch a hotel.

A. The significance of location

Independent of the commercial criteria for choice of location, a distinction exists between properties that can be licensed as Hotels in Dublin and outside Dublin. The minimum qualifying capacity for a Dublin hotel is fifteen rooms. Outside of the Dublin metropolitan district this reduces to ten rooms.

B. Planning and Fire Safety in Hotels

Each property seeking to be licensed as a Hotel satisfy the Court that its planning and fire safety compliance are up to date. The Court will look for, amongst other items, the following:

  • Planning permission for the use of the premises as a hotel. the planning should be applicable to the layout and finish at the date of application
  • The most up to date Fire Safety Certificate (FSC) issued by the Local Authority in which the premises are situated. If the layout has been altered by renovation or refurbishment an updated FSC may be required.
  • Certificates of Inspection by a fire safety engineer that the fire detection and prevention systems are operational, and the fire extinguishers are serviced.
  • Evidence of compliance with the planning permission and Building Regulations affecting the property or any refurbishment works. Your planning expert may also need to give evidence at the Court application.

C. Registration with Failte Ireland

Alongside the investigations on planning and fire safety, project owners should be Liaising with Failte Ireland to ensure that the hotel will meet the (download here) Failte Ireland Hotel Classification Criteria, recently updated in 2019. They have also published useful FAQ section (download).

D. Obtaining a licence

The planned operation of the hotel is the next critical consideration. There are technical matters of licensing law in Ireland that mean a number of types of licence can exist under different pieces of legislation. Typically however modern hotels wish to provide for the sale of alcohol to members of the public as well as to guests of the hotel. In this instance a public bar licence is required, legally a seven day ordinary on-licence. Under Irish law these licences cannot be created new and must be commercially acquired from an existing licensed premises. The price to buy a licence in Ireland will vary depending on market conditions. A specialist broker in licence negotiation will be placed to advise and assist in this process.

E. The Court application

Once planning, registration with Failte Ireland and the commercial terms to buy a licence are settled and agreed, the process of procuring the licence to open the hotel now moves to the Court application. In Ireland these applications are made in the District Court. The Court will require certain proofs including the planning and FSC requirements above. Your legal team will advise you as to the other documents required. An application is made on notice to the local area Garda Superintendent and the Fire Officer. When the proofs (documents) required by Court have been met, the Court will furnish a Court Certificate, authorising the issue of the licence to the hotel operator by the Irish Revenue Commissioners. A further application is then made to the relevant office of the Revenue Commissioners with proof of tax clearance, to procure the licence.

Choose the right professional team

The members of the Abacus Legal Network are specifically chosen for their expertise and knowledge in matters of licensing hotels in Ireland. We have experts in all locations in the country to assist with your licensing requirements. Each of our members has a proven track record.

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