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Marissa Cetin
27 February 2024, 16:55

Irish nightlife issues to be discussed in countrywide public talks by Give Us The Night

Co-founder Sunil Sharpe hopes the discussion event series Where Is The Night? will reignite momentum in the stalled changes to Ireland's licensing and alcohol sale laws

The words "Where Is The Night" on a black background

Irish nightlife advocates Give Us The Night, co-founded by DJ Sunil Sharpe, are holding public talks across Ireland over the next month.

The discussions, taking place under the Where Is The Night? banner, will cover the persistent delays in promised positive licensing changes for Irish nightlife business, the Irish clubbing scene at large, and plan possible solutions for improving the standstill situation. The first session took place at Cork venue The Bodega, with the next event running tomorrow evening, 28th February, at Dublin's The Sugar Club. GUTN will then visit Waterford, Kerry, Sligo and Galway before finishing up the talk series on 12th March at Limerick space Treaty City Brewery.

"Following multiple public and industry consultations since 2020, as well as a long string of announcements from the government, the Sale of Alcohol Bill has remained in limbo", Give Us The Night wrote on Instagram. "No opening hours have been extended, no new permits created, no repeal of the 1935 Public Dance Halls Act (the 'licence to dance'), no reform of licensing application processes and costs, etc. Irish nightlife remains in the last century."

GUTN then addressed officials in a position to affect change and give the Sale of Alcohol Bill more momentum: "If you're a public representative or election candidate, we'd also like to have you with us. As we edge towards local elections, with a general election also in sight, we'd like public representatives to be more aware of what local communities and night-time venues need in the future, as we aim to reshape the night and the night-time economy in Ireland."

So far in 2024, there has been no update on whether the anticipated changes to Ireland's licensing laws, to extend closing times to 6 AM and reduce licensing costs among other improvements, would come to fruition. A vague August 2023 statement by Taoiseach Leo Varadker said current rules would likely hold through the end of 2023 and possibly mid-2024. In a radio interview at the time, Sharpe said, "We were told [in early 2021] worst case scenario, it would take two years. That was a conservative estimate, but the hope was it would be shorter than that. Now there's an extra year and a half being put on top of that. It really feels like we've been strung along here."

In October last year, Dublin City Council started the process for recruiting the city's first Night Time Economy Advisor. Ireland's first-ever annual night-time economy forum was held in January 2023.

In 2021, Seán Finnan spoke to Sunil Sharpe about Give Us The Night's efforts to protect the future of Irish clubbing

See the Where Is The Night tour details, and watch a statement by Sharpe below.