Clubs will fight garda attempts to curb closing times

NIGHTCLUB owners are holding a “crisis meeting” today to counter garda attempts to curb club opening hours.

The move follows reports gardaí will apply to the Dublin District Court on Wednesday for club closing times to be reduced from 2.30am to 1.30am.

Officers in Dublin city centre are understood to be making the application because of ongoing public order problems late at night.

“Following a meeting of garda inspectors on Friday they are now going to recommend to the courts that the bar exemptions be curtailed to 1.30am,” said Robbie Fox of Dublin club Reynards.

Mr Fox said a restriction would be disastrous.

“It will definitely put people out of work and put us out of business.”

He said the garda application was draconian.

“This is going back to a second prohibition. It’s easy to blame drink and late licences. People need to realise what is happening.

“This is more of the nanny state.”

He said Dublin nightclubs had been fighting for extended hours.

“The nightclub business was damaged with the introduction of ‘late bars’ in 2000, after the ability to get exemptions was relaxed.”

He said the Irish Nightclub Industry Association, of which Reynards was a member, wanted exemptions to be increased to 3.30am.

“We are having a crisis meeting of all the nightclub owners to discuss this. If this goes ahead, you can goodbye to nightclubs.”

He said the nightclubs would have a team of solicitors and barristers to contest the applications.

He said if there were public order problems there needed to be more gardaí on the street and staggered closing times.

A garda spokesman refused to say whether they were making such an application.

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