The Minister for Justice, Michael McDowell, has relaxed the curfew on children in pubs by an hour during the summer months.

In the Dáil this afternoon, Minister McDowell accepted the thrust of an amendment from Fine Gael's Jim O'Keeffe.

He agreed that the time limit by which children have to leave pubs would be extended from 9pm to 10pm from May to September.

Mr McDowell agreed that the 9pm time limit was ‘a bit too tough’, particularly in tourist areas.

However, he said the issue would be revisited when more comprehensive legislation is brought forward to deal with the licensing laws.

According to the Licensed Vintners' Federation, publicans retain the right to have children off their premises earlier than 9pm or 10pm under a system known as 'house rules'. However, such rules must be clearly displayed.