Dublin and Cork to pilot late-night cultural events scheme

Dublin and Cork to pilot late-night cultural events scheme
Arts and Culture Minister Josepha Madigan

Dublin and Cork will be the first areas to boost night-time entertainment and cultural events and open new venues for activities.

Pilot night-time culture groups, involving the creative and arts communities, entertainment and business sectors, local authorities and Gardai, will begin work next month.

It is expected the move could lead to late-night openings of museums, theatres, galleries and more concerts.

Arts and Culture Minister Josepha Madigan is spearheading the initiative which she hopes will mirror late-night initiatives in EU and US cities where night mayors oversee events and venues.

But the moves to develop night-time cultural life will not include alternating licensing laws or staggering closing hours of pubs or clubs, despite a suggestion by the minister earlier this year.

Dublin and Cork will be the first areas tried under the scheme and a third area, most likely rural, will be added to the list before next month.

Members of the three groups will be asked to propose local initiatives to improve night-time culture in their city and any possible changes needed at a national level. These ideas will then feed into a night-time culture steering committee.

Government sources familiar with the plan have ruled out any push to change licensing laws, insisting this is a matter for justice authorities. Instead, the focus of the night-time culture plan is expected to be on using existing or unused venues for more events, such as exhibitions, concerts, readings and plays.

The pilot groups are expected to report back towards the end of the year and new policies for urban areas and towns will then be moved into places next year.

Furthermore, the Department of Arts will also conduct surveys in the targeted areas which will identify current venue use, possible improvements and any gaps in venue networks.

Ms Madigan said:

Night-time can be a very special time, one that can be full of creativity, unique energy and endless possibilities. Some of the most fun and exciting cultural and creative activities can and do happen at night-time.

“Many EU and US cities have started to value and nurture nightlife and creative and cultural activity at night. Whether it’s the appointment of night mayors in cities like London or initiatives like Museum Night, social and cultural activity after dark is appreciated and supported in a meaningful way.”

The commencement of the pilot projects in Dublin, Cork and elsewhere next month will coincide with Culture Night on September 20, where some 4,000 free events across the country will be held. The night events last year attracted over 400,000 people into city and town centres.

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