Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, Catherine Martin T.D, today welcomed the publication of the General Scheme of the Sale of Alcohol Bill which will reform and streamline licensing laws to support and stimulate the night-time economy.
Minister Martin has announced a support package for the night-time economy to include 9 new towns and cities in the new Night-Time Advisor Pilot initiative. A commitment has also been given to progress the provision of sound-proofing grants for venues to help prepare for late opening.
Speaking at the announcement of the publication of the General Scheme of the Sale of Alcohol Bill 2022, at the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA), Minister Martin said:
“Modernisation of our outdated licensing laws was one of the key recommendations of the Night-Time Economy Taskforce which I established back in 2020. The publication of the General Scheme of the Sale of Alcohol Bill agreed by Government today shows this Government’s commitment to supporting a more diverse and vibrant night-time economy. Our outdated licensing laws were consistently raised as one of the key obstacles to change, innovation and creativity by those working in the night-time economy. I hope that everyone can get behind these changes which will see a more streamlined, efficient and transparent system to licensing, more in step with a modern and diverse society and will hopefully open up more opportunities in the cultural sector”.
The Minister also took the opportunity to announce an additional package of supports which can help businesses and communities adjust to any potential changes to licensing laws as well as contribute to a more multi-layered night-time economy. In this context, 9 new pilot cities and towns have been selected by an independent review panel, led by the City and County Management Association (CCMA) and supported by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media. The selected pilot locations are Dublin City, Cork City, Limerick City, Galway City, Kilkenny, Drogheda, Sligo, Buncrana and Longford Town. Six pilots were originally agreed by the Night-time Economy Taskforce but Minister Martin approved funding for an additional three pilots.
Minister Martin said: “These new pilot towns and cities will now recruit new Night-Time Economy Advisors who will help drive and support a more sustainable night-time economy in their specific areas. They will work with businesses, communities, venues, residents and artists to create a more vibrant night-life for all and bring vitality back to our city and town centres in a safe and sustainable way. I would like to thank the CCMA for their role in leading this process and I look forward to getting the Advisors in place and getting started”.
AnnMarie Farrelly, Chair of the CCMA Business, Enterprise, Innovation, Urban/Town Economic Renewal Committee said: “The role of the Night-Time Economy Advisors in the 9 pilot towns and cities will be central to the establishment of a thriving night-life for our communities. They are key to delivering co-ordination at local level to help support, drive and sustain a more vibrant and diverse night-time economy. The learnings from the 9 pilots will then inform the approach to be taken in rolling out plans for the night-time economy across our cities and towns more generally.”
Minister Martin also committed to working with the sector and other relevant stakeholders to develop a grant process for sound-proofing of suitable venues. This will help to support the proposed liberalisation of opening hours for nightclubs and other venues operating in the night-time economy.
Minister Martin said: “We are currently examining different ways to approach this – the Berlin model being one approach. However, we will work closely with the sector and relevant experts to make sure we create a model that maximises the benefits for businesses and for surrounding communities. We are also engaging with the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications and the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage on additional noise mitigation solutions.”
She added: “€6 million has been allocated by my Department to the night-time economy in this year’s budget, which demonstrates our commitment to its development. We have made real and tangible progress on the actions in the Report of the Night-Time Economy Taskforce Report and are now beginning to see some changes. We will continue to work with the sector to build on this momentum”.