The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website


Irish Ministers Agree To Extend Nightclub Opening Hours To 6am
Christian Eede , October 27th, 2022 15:47

The much-anticipated licensing reforms are expected to come into law next year

Ireland is finally set to revamp its dated alcohol licensing laws to allow nightclubs in the country to remain open until 6am.

Earlier this week, Minister for Justice Helen McEntee gave a speech outlining the new General Scheme of the Sale of Alcohol Bill 2022, which has officially been approved by the nation's cabinet ahead of it passing into legislation sometime next year. Under the new law, nightclub closing hours will be extended from 3am to 6am, with alcohol sales not permitted past 5am.

In order to be eligible for the extended opening time, venue owners will have to apply for a nightclub permit, which will be issued by the district courts on a yearly basis. In order to receive the permit, nightclub proprietors must ensure that they have functioning CCTV installed outside the premises and a security team that is registered with the Private Security Authority. Gone under the new laws are the pricey Special Exemption Orders which venue owners and promoters were forced to apply for in order to put on a party.

"Our licensing laws are out of date for the requirements of modern society," McEntee said when outlining the new bill this week. "Under the reforms we're announcing today, we will instead have one, modern piece of legislation to regulate the sale of alcohol.

"Nightclubs are an integral part of the life of a city. Clubbing is culture which drives creativity and shapes attitudes."

Further changes put forward within the new bill include a move towards phasing out the extinguishment rule, which has previously meant that anyone hoping to open a pub or club in Ireland could only do so by buying an existing license from a license holder, rather than the state. The rule, which will be moved away from within three years of the new law's introduction, has made it difficult for new operators to open venues and has seen Ireland's number of nightclubs dwindle significantly.

The eventual introduction of the bill will also allow pubs to stay open until 12.30am seven days a week. The closing time for bars will remain as 2.30am with a late bar permit.

The final process before the bill becomes legislation will see it put in front of the Oireachtas justice committee for final scrutiny. It will then be put before parliament to be voted on and passed into law.

Early signals that Ireland's government might finally reform its alcohol licensing laws came earlier this year, with Giving Us The Night, an organisation which has campaigned for many years to improve the country's nightlife situation, expressing cautious optimism about the new legislation at the time.

Tweeting a response to news of the reforms earlier this week, the group thanked Minister for Justice Helen McEntee for her work in pushing the process forward, writing that her effort has been "like no other justice minister before."