Alcohol licencing review gets 5,000 submissions

Alcohol licencing review gets 5,000 submissions

More than 5,000 people have made submissions on plans to overhaul Ireland’s liquor licencing laws amid renewed hope of a resurgence of the nightclub sector. Picture: Sasko Lazarov/RollingNews.ie

More than 5,000 people have made submissions on plans to overhaul Ireland’s liquor licencing laws amid renewed hope of a resurgence of the nightclub sector.

Justice Minister Helen McEntee opened a public consultation on the modernisation of licensing laws last November, saying she wanted to gauge public opinion on the opening hours of nightclubs and late bars, and the regulation of online and delivery sales.

It raised hopes in the sector that the Sale of Alcohol Bill will see Ireland adopt a more European-style approach, where late bars and nightclubs can open well beyond current hours of operation.

Archaic laws

Sunil Sharpe, a DJ and part of the Give Us The Night campaign group, said he is optimistic the response will bring an end to archaic laws that still govern the sector, such as the Public Dance Halls Act 1935.

“Generally, open consultations like this may only yield a couple of hundred submissions — the fact that there were over 5,000 submissions, it’s very positive from our point of view,” Mr Sharpe said. “We need a complete overhaul of the licensing system and we’ve made this very clear.”

One proposed change would see nightclubs and pubs allowed to open longer. Mr Sharpe said this would have huge benefits for the industry.

“It would allow venues to maximize the potential of the business for a start. It would also allow workers and performers to actually enhance their career opportunities.

“We’ve seen more and more people walk away from the sector.

Mr Sharpe believes Ireland has lost 80% to 85% of its nightclubs over the past two decades.

“We had over 500 nightclubs 20 years ago, we now have well below 100,” he added.

A spokesperson for the Department of Justice said they are currently in the initial stages of analysing the responses and will publish the details in due course.

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