Words: Emily Mullen
News of the Sale of Alcohol Bill 2021 was announced at the much-anticipated Report of the Night-Time Economy Taskforce
Minister for Tourism Catherine Martin announced that a reform to licensing laws was “in-process” following today’s announcement by the Department of Justice. The draft bill entitled the Sale of Alcohol Bill 2021, has already been drawn up by the Department.
Speaking at the launch of the Night-Time Economy Taskforce, the details of a report that seeks to reform Irish licensing laws and to roll out a series of supports for the nightlife industry.
The report aims to “present innovative solutions to some of the challenges and opportunities for the sector, many of which predate the pandemic.”
Many of the proposals were originally drawn during the launch of the taskforce which was established on 30 July 2020.
Authors of the report acknowledged the “erosion of diverse night-life options” which were noted in the pre-pandemic consultation and have said that this needs to “be reversed.”
Minister Martin outlined a series of 36 “practical solutions” as part of the report, while speaking to reporters in The Button Factory.
Minister Martin outlined key areas of focus; Diversifying our Offering, Better Planning and Regulation, Major Reform of Licensing Laws and Support for Electronic Music and Clubs.
The specific actions include piloting six new Night-Time Advisors in six towns and cities across Ireland, which will be led by the county council. These advisers will be tasked with developing the economic opportunities in each area.
Extending opening hours in national cultural institutions, such as galleries and museums, and developing pilot programmes to facility late-night activities.
Working with publicans to increase opportunities for artists within their communities.
Define best practice guidelines for local authorities, to ensure that nightlife is embedded in their planning processes.
Improving transport options was another key tenant of the report, reflected in the announcement that eight new 24-hour bus routes will be rolled out in Dublin, alongside ride-hailing apps in rural areas.
An emphasis on utilising empty buildings, which can be used on a temporary basis or a “meanwhile use” basis was also emphasised.
The task force was established on 30 July 2020, which aimed to work on solutions for a night-time economy that was already suffering pre-COVID.
Together with Minister Martin, Minister of State at the Department of Justice, Hildegarde Naughton T.D. and Sunil Sharpe, of the Give Us the Night Campaign and the Night-Time Economy Taskforce, and Liz Meaney of the Arts Council, helped to issue the report.
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