Belfast Telegraph

Taoiseach wants to reform Ireland’s ‘archaic’ licensing laws

Leo Varadkar said tourists and locals have described Ireland’s nightlife as ‘disappointing’.

Changes to Ireland’s licensing laws are to be reviewed next year (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)
Changes to Ireland’s licensing laws are to be reviewed next year (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

By Cate McCurry, PA

The Taoiseach has said he wants to reform Ireland’s “archaic” licensing laws.

Leo Varadkar said that tourists and locals have described Ireland’s nightlife as “disappointing”.

The Fine Gael leader said that allowing pubs and nightclubs to stay open for longer would be better for transport, as it avoids large crowds searching for taxis at the same time and reduces public order concern.

Changes to Ireland’s licensing laws are to be reviewed next year, which could see pubs staying open later.

People who come to Dublin and come to other cities, and people who go abroad from Ireland, do say that our nightlife is ... can be disappointing and that premises shut down too early Leo Varadkar

Mr Varadkar said that while he is open to reforming the licensing laws, he does not believe the same laws need to be enforced around Ireland, particularly in suburban and rural areas.

“I think we do need to have to create local control around licensing laws,” he added.

“People who come to Dublin and come to other cities, and people who go abroad from Ireland, do say that our nightlife is … can be disappointing and that premises shut down too early.

“It’s very different in Madrid or Germany or other places where places stay open all night and it doesn’t lead to an increase in public order offences.

“It would actually be better in terms of transport because instead of everyone rushing out looking for taxis at the same time, that’s spread out over a longer period of time.

“It’s an area that I think we need to change.”

He said that Minister for Culture Josepha Madigan is considering the idea of authorities appointing “night mayors” in a bid to reinvigorate the nightlife, which “shouldn’t be all about drink”.

I think we can do better for people who enjoy the nightlife Leo Varadkar

“One of the weird things that the laws we have at the moment is that licensed premises – even if they stopped serving alcohol – can’t stay open. Maybe places still want to stay open and people want to dance but they are not allowed to.

“Once you stop serving drink, you have to close within half an hour or an hour, so they are really archaic.

“I think we can do better for people who enjoy the nightlife.”

PA

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