The proposed plans to keep Irish nightclubs open until 6:AM and pubs open until 12:30AM, 7 nights a week — which were first brought to the cabinet in October, likely won’t come into effect until summer of 2024, according to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.
Ireland’s nightlife community had previously been campaigning for years to reverse dated licensing laws that meant that people were unable to buy alcohol at a pub after 11:30PM during the week,12:30AM on Friday and Saturday and 11:PM on a Sunday.
Off licences were also restricted to an eleven and a half hour window to sell alcohol — restricted to 10:30AM to 10:00PM throughout the week, and opening times for those shops delayed to 12:30PM on Sundays.
The reformations to the Irish licensing system affect a group of around 100 laws, two thirds of which were implemented before the founding of the Irish Free State — and many are over 200 years old.
Though Ireland’s licensing practices will remain slightly more restrictive than its neighbouring European counterparts – as licences are still only obtainable through courts and alcohol sales remain closely monitored – many believe the reforms will do a great deal for the nightlife sector.
Venues previously had to apply for Special Exemption Orders (SEO’s) to stay open for an additional two hours; in 2008 the Irish government increased the cost of these from €220 to €410 per event, which greatly affected many venues and promoters.
Minister mcEntee, who proposed the reforms back in October, said that This will lead to one modern piece of legislation to regulate the sale of alcohol. It will aim to support the development of night time culture and the night time economy.” Plans were also announced on July 18 to designate €2 million in funding to make venues more soundproof. Though the bill has been endorsed by the cabinet, it has not yet been passed into legislation.
However, despite previous claims that these updates could be in place by the end of this year, the Taoiseach revealed in a summer briefing to political journalists that “I think it unlikely it will be the case for Christmas” as “That would mean getting the legislation published and enacted before Christmas. Even when it is enacted, there’s a whole licensing system that has to be gone through.” He continued that “ I would hope they can be in place for next summer.”
Tiffanie Ibe is Mixmag’s Digital Intern, follow her on Instagram
Written by: Tim Hopkins