Belfast bar ends 'All you can drink for £25' offer

The Library Bar in Belfast has announced it is to end a £25 "all you can drink" promotion.

John Sherry, owner of the Library Bar, received heavy media and political criticism over the offer.

He said the current economic conditions facing pub owners had forced him to "look for new ways to compete".

Mr Sherry said he now accepted that the promotion was not "best practice" and that he supports the responsible sale of alcohol in Northern Ireland.

Explaining his original reasons for running the Friday night promotion he said: "The increased prevalence of at-home drinking and the fact that some licensed premises flout the law and serve alcohol past the permitted time has forced some pub owners like myself to take extreme action."

Colin Neill, Chief Executive of Pubs of Ulster, the trade body which represents more than 70% of the licensed trade in Northern Ireland, said that he accepted Mr Sherry had been trying to protect his business and was not being "intentionally negligent".

Mr Neil said that the responsible sale of alcohol was of "paramount importance and drinks promotions of this kind cannot be tolerated.

"Pubs of Ulster also takes a hard line on any rogue elements of the licensed trade, including restaurants and social clubs, which breach licensing laws by staying open later than allowed and serving alcohol past the permitted time."

Social Development Minister Alex Attwood welcomed the decision to discontinue the drinks offer.

Mr Attwood said such promotions "encourage people to drink more that they normally would, not to mention the damaging effects on themselves and society".

"The right arguments, public concerns and a strong lead within government and the licence trade has prevailed," he said.

Minister Attwood has previously announced his intention to bring forward legislation banning irresponsible alcohol promotions.