Belfast Telegraph

Pub closing times in Republic of Ireland set for shake-up

Currently the majority of bars in towns and cities close between 1.30am and 2am at weekends with the result that thousands of people spill on to the streets at once (stock photo)
Currently the majority of bars in towns and cities close between 1.30am and 2am at weekends with the result that thousands of people spill on to the streets at once (stock photo)

By Kevin Doyle

Pub closing times in the Republic could be staggered so thousands of drinkers aren't going home at the same time, Irish Culture Minister Josepha Madigan has said.

Currently the majority of bars in towns and cities close between 1.30am and 2am at weekends with the result that thousands of people spill on to the streets at once. In urban areas, the situation frequently results in large queues for taxis and can pose a challenge for gardaí.

Now as part of their local election campaign, Fine Gael is proposing the appointment of 'night mayors'.

The ambassadorial role would involve working to advance and improve night-time entertainment, creative and cultural offerings in towns around the country.

As part of the process, Ms Madigan suggested licensing laws could be looked at.

"It is an issue we're looking at," Ms Madigan said.

"There is, perhaps, an argument to say we could stagger an approach so that not everybody is coming out on the street at the same time."

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The idea of a night mayor is based on similar positions in cities such as London and Amsterdam.

The proposal is that the person would build on existing initiatives like Culture Night or regional events such as Riverfest Limerick or the Galway International Arts Festival.

The minister is also planning a "mapping exercise" to identify all the cultural venues in towns with a view to establishing if they can be better used.

Belfast Telegraph

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