The Minister for Justice Michael McDowell has been outlining Government proposals for the clampdown on alcohol abuse.

The plans involve stronger penalties in relation to the sale and supply of intoxicating liquor to drunken persons in licensed premises. They will also allow non-uniformed Gardaí to enter licensed premises to enforce the licensing laws.

There will be a wider use of temporary closure orders where licensed premises are found to be in breach of the licensing laws, in particular in relation to drunkenness or supplying alcohol to drunken persons.

Up to now a temporary closure order could only be applied in the case of under-age drinking.

The Government is also proposing that closing time on Thursday nights should be brought back from 12:30 to 11:30. They are also changing the law to ban all under-18s from bars after 8pm.

And they are going to introduce a new requirement where every person under 21 must carry an evidence of age document on licensed premises.

New legislation on alcohol advertising

As part of the package on alcohol abuse, the Minister for Health, Micheal Martin, will introduce legislation to how alcohol advertisements can be placed and ensure the content of alcohol advertising does not appeal to children or adolescents.

He is also to ban the drinks industry sponsorship of children's and adolescent leisure-time activities and will introduce an advertising watershed on television and in cinemas.

Speaking to journalists after the announcement of the Government measures to combat underage drinking, Mr Martin said he believed it is unacceptable that the GAA is using a drinks company to sponsor the national game.

He said some of the advertising that has been associated with the national game in recent years had sent out the completely wrong message to young children. He said he was sure there were alternative sponsors.