Nightclubs welcome court orders

NIGHTCLUB bosses have welcomed court orders which have allowed their premises to serve drink until 2.30am.

Senior gardaí had threatened to cut back the licensing hours in a bid to reduce public order problems in Dublin.

But yesterday the Licensing Court upheld the existing 2.30am times for city nightclubs.

The Irish Nightclub Industry Association said it was satisfied with the outcome.

But spokesman Jay Bourke added: “The idea that our businesses were being threatened in the first place was outrageous.”

However, District Court president, Judge Peter Smithwick, granted garda applications to reduce opening times for nightclubs that use theatre licences.

This loophole had allowed bars in Dublin clubs to legally stay open until 3.30am or 4am.

Under the new conditions imposed by Judge Smithwick, theatre-licensed premises must not serve alcohol after 3am.

Under the new conditions, normal nightclubs will stop serving at 2.30am and theatre-licensed premises at 3am.

Judge Smithwick refused to make exceptions, despite a claim by a solicitor for one such establishment, Spirit, in Middle Abbey Street, that late night public disorder problems were unrelated to the operation of the premises.

Solicitor Bill Holohan was representing Spirit, the Gaiety, the Olympia, Ambassador and a number of lapdancing clubs, which also hold theatre licences.

But Michael O’Higgins BL, for the State, said gardaí would be in a position to give “cogent evidence” to dispute this, including information from staff of the city’s hospitals to show there was a correlation between the late hours and public order.

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