Robbie Fox of the Irish Nightclub Industry Association and owner of Reynards in Dublin, said he was extremely worried at reports senior gardaí were planning to lodge objections when special exemption orders for club licences come up for annual review this week.
Senior members of the force in Dublin met on Friday to consider public order issues arising from late night drinking. Nightclubs operate under the normal licensing laws for pubs, but have to seek special exemption orders to allow them to stay open later, sometimes until 4.30am.
Mr Fox dismissed claims the objections had anything to do with trying to combat public order offences, and said the reasons were to do with bad rostering and lack of resources on the part of the gardaí.
“There are often less gardaí rostered on a Saturday night than on a Monday morning in the larger towns,” he said.
“On one weekend night in Galway recently there were 12 gardaí on duty in the city compared to 30 doormen and security staff working in one particular nightclub. People were safer in the club than on the street outside.”
He said it had been proven many times that curtailing nightclub opening times did not reduce public order offences.
He said people leaving nightclubs at the same time put pressure on taxis and fast food outlets and lead to aggression on streets.
A spokeswoman for the Justice Minister said Mr McDowell had no comment. The association’s petition can be accessed at www.petitiononline.com/night269/petition.