Nightclubs in the Republic of Ireland will soon be able to stay open until 6 AM under new licensing laws being drafted today (25th October).
Irish nightclubs currently have to close at 2:30 AM, and even that's with a Special Exemption Order (SEO) that venues have to apply for at a cost of €410 per night. Venues will now be permitted to sell alcohol until 5 AM with a license, and dancing is allowed to continue until 6 AM.
Pubs will also now be allowed to stay open until 12.30 AM, seven days a week. Currently they can generally remain open from Monday through Friday until 11.30 PM, with Sunday sales limited to between 12.30 AM and 11 PM. New standardised opening hours will enable pubs to open from 10.30 AM to 12.30 AM.
Justice Minister Helen McEntee will propose the Sale of Alcohol Bill to Cabinet, and anticipates that the new licensing laws will be approved by the Oireachtas, the national parliament, in 2023. The new laws will overhaul antiquated licensing laws, which include the Public Dance Halls Act of 1935 and the Habitual Drunkards Act of 1879, and aim to bring Ireland up to speed with other European countries.
“It’s really about how do we consolidate what is a lot of complex laws and outdated laws, but also to make it easier for people to get into the industry, to make it easier for newcomers, young people, and to just create a better environment for our artists and our venues as well,” said McEntee.
Give Us The Night (GUTN), the campaign to improve Irish nightlife conditions co-founded by Sunil Sharpe, have been lobbying the government for several years to bring Ireland’s night-time economy and culture in line with its European counterparts.
GUTN have also been lobbying the government not only to allow clubs to operate from 6 PM to 6 AM but also for a night mayor to advocate for nightlife and to abolish the SEO scheme.
Read about the pioneering work of the Give Us The Night campaign and the fight for the future of Irish clubbing here.