As expected, the publishing of the Sale of Alcohol Bill is not on the horizon this year. We have known for quite some time that the issue of licensing reform is not a priority for this government, and it appears that the will of nightclub owners to lobby is at an all-time low too. An article written today talks about some of these matters.
Irish Examiner ask whether or not nightclubs are becoming irrelevant here. Of course they’re not; GUTN’s Sunil Sharpe, Jamie Behan and Greg Dowling discuss why.
No news is good news as they say. Or in our case, has become a familiar story. So far Fine Gael have failed to distinguish themselves as anything different from the previous government in terms of their will to tackle the ongoing fiasco that is the Sale of Alcohol Bill. We have however been encouraged by justice minister Alan Shatter’s readiness to discuss the matters at hand with the INIA.
Thank you for the ongoing email responses and messages of support, we have definitely noticed a renewed interest in the campaign over recent months, and hope to report further on developments regarding the upcoming bill very soon.
We know that many, many thousands of people around the country support the aims of Give Us The Night. However, we do feel that new and closer contact between us and other likeminded individuals needs to be made. We are doing a fresh callout, particularly to people working within the nightclub industry, to touch base with us. If you have an interest in helping to push the campaign further, please simply send us an email, telling us where you are based and what your nightclub related occupation or job role is. We’ll be back in touch to suggest how we think you can help.
It has long been argued that a reduction in exemption order fees for nightclubs would be beneficial to the economy, thus increasing each club’s potential for profit as well as its ability to open extra nights and employ extra staff. The INIA recently commissioned economist Tony Foley to examine the current situation for nightclubs with regard licensing costs. You can read his report here: http://www.inia.ie/media/TonyFoleyReport.pdf
We have had quite a few questions recently regarding the outgoing Fianna Fáil government’s Sale of Alcohol Bill. You probably don’t need us to tell you this but it will not be published this side of the election. The bill itself has been worked on for almost eight years, and has unbelievably still not been completed. Dermot Ahern and his department had a lot of work to do on the bill and were unlikely to reach completion on it anytime soon.
What we are interested in now is the incoming government, and whether or not the Sale of Alcohol Bill will be in its programme for government. This is the single most important assurance we need to get from a prospective government party in advance of the election.
If you have time – amongst the many other issues you will probably have with canvassing candidates – we urge you to bring up the matter of Ireland’s licensing laws and the urgent need for a complete overhaul, with anyone you meet or speak to. What you need to be very clear on is that this particular bill will dictate the next changes to our closing times, and indeed any other areas of the alcohol licensing laws that you may be unhappy with. The extra-early closing time of 1am on Sunday nights is another issue that we feel needs to be changed as soon as possible; mentioning this is also advised.
While speaking to election candidates is massively important, zoning in on each of the main parties’ justice spokespersons is even more vital. Here is each of their emails if you would like to contact them:
- Fine Gael: Alan Shatter – email@example.com
- Labour: Pat Rabbitte – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Green Party: Ciarán Cuffe – ciaran. cuffe @ oireachtas.ie
- Sinn Féin: Aengus Ó Snodaigh – email@example.com
- Fine Fáil: John Curran – firstname.lastname@example.org
If you work in the industry, if you feel that later opening can benefit the economy, or if you simply feel that that you’d like the choice to be in a nightclub beyond 2/2.30am please let it be known. There is no doubt that the licensing laws will change for the better eventually, and under a new government we feel that that time may be coming closer.
We know that many people have grown weary with the lack of progress on an extension to the closing times, but there literally has not been a better time to make your voice heard on this as now.
Feel free to pass this message onto anyone you think may be interested.
Give Us The Night Team
Spokesperson for GUTN, Sunil Sharpe, is at NUI Galway this Thursday (November 4th) speaking at the college’s Literary & Debating Society discussion, which will focus on the issue of Ireland’s alcohol licensing laws. It takes place at the college’s Kirwan Theatre from 7pm, and all are welcome.
We haven’t had a lot to report recently, however we just met with the INIA, who are continuing to lobby hard for 4am closing for Dublin nightclubs, and 2.30am closing for nightclubs everywhere else outside of Dublin. When exactly the government’s long awaited Sale of Alcohol Bill will be published is anyone’s guess.
It is an understatement to say that we are frustrated by the lack of political progress or interest in nightclub opening hours, despite the obvious benefits later closing times would bring to the economy. We recently visited Government buildings and again met with the Green Party’s chief whip and spokesperson for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Ciaran Cuffe, who says that he will raise the matter properly with minister Dermot Ahern as soon as he can. We believe that Mr Cuffe will do that but as for Ahern actually doing anything… well, we won’t hold our breath.