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Later Pub & Club Closing Times Not Before Summer 2024

An Taoiseach Mr Leo Varadkar has stated that next summer is possibly a more realistic timeline for the implementation of expected new licensing laws, which are expected to see later official closing times.

The Government is currently studying the renewal and updating of our antiquated licensing laws to allow both pubs and clubs to open later.

Some of the current licensing laws are more than 200 years old and two-thirds of same currently pre-date the foundation of the Irish State.

Legislative changes were originally believed to become enacted this year, but now next summer is viewed to be a more realistic timeline for this new system to be introduced.

In October 2022, Minister for Justice Mrs Helen McEntee received Cabinet approval for her draft Bill to reform Ireland’s antiquated licensing system.

Then, as Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar, had stated he believed the reforms, that Minister McEntee was proposing, would be good for hospitality businesses and would boost the wider economy, while generating employment. It would also give people and performers more autonomy about how, when and where they would socialise.

In a press release; Mr Varadkar further stated, “Our nightlife does not compare favourably with that of other European countries, when it should be as good as anywhere in Europe. Rural pubs are closing, as have many nightclubs in urban areas, while the number of off-licences is increasing. It is not all about alcohol and should not be, but is part of the picture. It’s about cutting red tape and streamlining regulation. These reforms should be seen in the wider context of the government’s efforts to improve the cultural and entertainment offerings in our towns, cities and rural areas.”

In late January of this year, 2023, an Oireachtas committee heard that the Government’s plan for an overhaul of Ireland’s licensing laws was largely positive, with concerns raised with regard to licensing costs for night clubs and the removal of obstacles to the opening of pubs.

Under then proposed legislation, pubs and nightclubs would be permitted to apply for extended opening hours annually, rather than applying for a special exemption order for each night they would want to open late. Trading hours would be extended to allow nightclubs stay open until 6:00am and pubs allowed to remain open until 12:30am, seven days a week.

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