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Scheme of the Sale of Alcohol Bill 2022 at the Royal Hibernian Academy, the Minister stated, “Modernisation of our outdated licensing laws was one of the key recommendations of the Night-Time Economy Taskforce which I established back in 2020.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“Our outdated licensing laws were consistently raised as one of the key obstacles to change, innovation and creativity by those working in the Night-Time Economy.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 NTE.
In this context nine new pilot cities and towns have been selected by an independent review panel, led by the City and County Management Association and supported by her Department.
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 NTE Taskforce but the Minister has now approved funding for an additional three pilots.
“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,” said the Minister, “They will work with businesses, communities, venues, residents and artists to create a more vibrant nightlife for all and bring vitality back to our city and town centres in a safe and sustainable way.”
CCMA Business, Enterprise, Innovation, Urban/Town Economic Renewal Committee Chair AnnMarie Farrelly, explained that, “The role of the Night-Time Economy Advisors in the nine 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 nine 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 Catherine Martin also committed to working with the sector and other relevant stakeholders to develop a grant process for sound-proofing of suitable venues to help to support the proposed liberalisation of opening hours for nightclubs and other venues operating in the NTE.
“We are currently examining different ways to approach this – the Berlin model being one approach,” she said, “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’re 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 and are now beginning to see some changes. We will continue to work with the sector to build on this momentum.”