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Night-time economy pilot programme to be launched in Ireland

Plans include drafting specialist advisors for six towns and cities, extending opening hours for cultural spaces, and a series of large-scale pilot events aimed at diversifying night-time options. 

Ireland nightclubs

A night-time economy pilot programme is being launched in Ireland, with specialist advisors representing pubs, bars, clubs and other venues set to be appointed in a bid to better support businesses. 

A process is now underway to select the six towns and cities that will benefit from the scheme, which is set to run for two years, each of which will have a Night-Time Economy Advisor. The City and County Managers Association (CCMA) has issued a call for local authorities to apply, and councils have until 24th June to submit proposals. 

Alongside drafting Night-Time Advisors, Catherine Martin — Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media — has approved funding to support late night openings of National Cultural Institutions over the course of this summer and autumn. The idea being not only to allow visitors access after normal opening hours, but broaden and diversify the types of events and performances taking place, and in turn the audience. 

The Crawford Art Gallery, in Cork City, has already confirmed a new series of tours running Thursday nights until 8PM. Elsewhere, the National Museum of Ireland (NMI), Dublin, is also extending operating hours for both NMI Decorative Arts and History at Collins Barracks, and at NMI Archaeology, Kildare Street. In addition, NMI and the Irish Museum of Modern Art have been earmarked as two host venues for large scale pilot events aimed at trialling "new and more diverse offerings later into the night."

"The establishment of Night-Time Advisors in the six pilot towns and cities will be a significant step towards securing a vibrant and importantly a more sustainable night-time culture for all our citizens. The selection of these pilot towns and cities is a vital stage in this process and I would like to thank the CCMA and the local authorities for their leadership and support for this process", Minister Martin said in a statement. 

"This is in direct response to an action in the Report of the Night-Time Economy Taskforce, which I published last year. The Taskforce explored ways in which we could promote a thriving, inclusive and diverse Night-Time Economy," she continued. "It is crucial now that we follow up on their recommendations and act on them to create and support opportunities for audiences, venues, businesses and performers."

These steps reflect an ongoing need for assistance in both culture and nightlife sectors following lengthy closures as a result of the pandemic, which have since given way to a spiralling cost of living crisis that has already led to UK venues reporting a 30% increase in overheads. However, Ireland's licensing laws have long-been seen as detrimental to the success of clubs and other late-opening establishments. Last year, DJ Mag reported on Give Us The Night, a campaign co-founded by techno DJ and producer Sunil Sharpe that is working to make the country's rules and regulations more workable.