Words: Eva O’Beirne
Here’s everything you need to know about the changes to Ireland’s late-night economy.
Today, the Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin announced the publication of the General Scheme of the Sale of Alcohol Bill which will reform and streamline licensing laws to support and stimulate the night-time economy.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin has announced a support package for the night-time economy to include nine new towns and cities in the new Night-Time Advisor Pilot initiative. A commitment has also been given to progress the provision of sound-proofing grants for venues to help prepare for late opening.
Under new licensing laws, pubs will have the option to open from 10:30 until 00:30 seven days a week. Additionally, nightclubs will be allowed to open until 06:00.
Alcohol will be served until 05:00 in nightclubs but music and dancing can continue until the 06:00 closing time.
The new late licences and new 06:00 nightclub licences will be given on an annual basis, meaning venues won’t have to apply in court each month.
There will be new criteria under which a complaint against a venue obtaining a licence can be made. If a venue does not protect staff, patrons and performers from harassment including sexual harassment, a licence may be refused.
A grant may be introduced for the soundproofing of venues in 2023 – Micheál Martin secured a capital fund of up to two million euro in Budget 2023 to explore the possibility of sound-proofing grants for the Night Time Economy sector.
There are also proposals to remove the ‘extinguishment’ model – currently, anyone wanting to open a pub or off-licence first has to buy a licence from a previous holder.
Off licences will now have standardised opening hours of 10:00 to 22:00, seven days a week.
A new alcohol sale licence for galleries, theatres, museums and other cultural venues will be introduced. These venues will now be allowed sell alcohol one hour before and one hour after a performance takes place.
Nine towns and cities will get a ‘Night-Time Economy Advisor’ under a new pilot scheme: Dublin City, Cork City, Limerick City, Galway City, Kilkenny, Drogheda, Sligo, Buncrana and Longford Town.
Elsewhere on District: Nightclubs to remain open to 6AM under new reforms