Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Quarter of nightclubs 'closed down'

Nightclub owners will meet Justice Minister Alan Shatter in June to put the case for a cut in the price of special exemption orders

A quarter of the country's nightclubs have shut down because of falling trade and fees for late opening.

A study of the licensed trade has found 130 clubs have closed their doors for good in the last three years.

Barry O'Sullivan, chief executive of the Irish Nightclub Industry Association (INIA), claimed the closures have cost 600 jobs.

"Knowing our industry and thanks to the survey that's about 2,500 part-time jobs in reality," he said.

The INIA said the number of nightclubs dropped from 430 to 300 in the three years to 2010 and the loss to business has been estimated at 54 million euro.

The figures were revealed on the back of an Aviva Health Insurance survey which found Irish drinkers are spending about 2,000 euro a year on alcohol.

Mr O'Sullivan said a 410 euro fee charged for every night a club opens is killing jobs and damaging late night economy and tourism.

The former boss of Club M in Dublin's Temple Bar said that unless the price of special exemption orders is cut dozens more nightclubs will close, further damaging local employment.

The INIA will meet Justice Minister Alan Shatter in June to put the case for a cut in fees.

"The feedback from backbenchers is that they are in the mood for positive change - if it makes sense and it's logical and if there's a good argument for job retention they will look at it," Mr O'Sullivan said. "I think we tick all those boxes."

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