Plans to change laws on opening hours for pubs and nightclubs have been welcomed by the trade association representing Dublin pubs.
The chief executive of the Licensed Vintners' Association (LVA), Donall O’Keeffe, said the move to extend late trading hours for pubs and nightclubs would be of “great benefit” to publicans when they are allowed to reopen.
The new proposals to reform licensing laws would see staggered and extended closing times for pubs and nightclubs.
Sunday trading hours would be brought in line with the rest of the week for pubs and off-licences.
Currently during non-Covid periods, pubs are required to close at 11pm on Sundays, while off-licences can sell alcohol until 10pm.
The plans also include the possibility that a new annual nightclub permit would be created to allow nightclubs to open past 2.30am. New categories of alcohol licences for cultural venues like art galleries and theatres are also being mooted.
Speaking to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Mr O’Keeffe said his organisation has been calling for extended late trading hours “for years”, as other European cities have three more hours of a late scene.
Allowing clubs to open until 5am, seven nights a week, should be available subject to strict conditions to enable Dublin to have a late-night scene, he added.
Minister for Justice Helen McEntee told the same programme that Ireland’s licensing legislation dates back to 1935 and needs to be modernised.
Ms McEntee said the move is not just intended to give people an “extra hour in the pub”, but it will ensure a greater cultural offering when Covid-19 restrictions on the hospitality sector lifts.
The move acknowledges that people working in the nighttime sector have a variety of cultural offerings, she said.
The changes also should stop the situation where thousands of people pile onto the streets at once because all of the night venues close at the same time, she added.
The proposed changes to pub and nightclub hours are part of more than 200 actions contained in the Justice Plan 2021 published on Monday.