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Written Answers. - Club Licensing.

Thursday, 17 October 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 555 No. 4

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 29. Ms O'Sullivan Information on Jan O'Sullivan Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform Information on Michael McDowell Zoom on Michael McDowell  if his attention has been drawn to concerns expressed regarding the growth of lap-dancing clubs and a possible link with prostitution; the Garda policy with regard to the licensing and supervision of such clubs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18517/02]

Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Mr. McDowell): Information on Michael McDowell Zoom on Michael McDowell I am informed by the Garda authorities that they are currently aware of a number of premises where lap-dancing takes place. These premises are subjected to ongoing Garda attention to ensure compliance with existing legislation and the Garda authorities have assured me that any allegation of specific criminal activity will be fully investigated.

[1145]I am further informed by the Garda authorities that existing legislation does not specifically cover lap-dancing clubs. However, the sale and consumption of intoxicating liquor in these clubs is controlled by the Licensing Acts, 1833 to 2000 and by the Registration of Clubs Acts, 1904 to 2000. Accordingly, such clubs may apply for a licence to the courts. It is therefore open to the Garda Síochána to enter any licensed premises for the purposes of preventing and detecting the violation of any of the provisions of the licensing laws.

The EU recently adopted a framework decision on combating trafficking in human beings for the purposes of sexual and labour exploitation. I am at present examining the framework decision in order to identify what legislation will be necessary to enable Ireland to comply with it. I can inform the Deputy that any future proposals I may have in relation to the regulation of such activity will be brought before Government and announced in the usual way.

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