Dublin nightclub owners and DJs warn that the industry is in danger under current laws 5 years ago

Dublin nightclub owners and DJs warn that the industry is in danger under current laws

Modernising the industry could have a huge knock-on effect for the better.

Music industry professionals, nightclub owners and DJs are being called to meet on Wednesday evening to discuss the state of Ireland's nightclub industry and the ways it can be improved.


Give Us The Night is an independent volunteer group of industry professionals who are campaigning to change licensing laws in Ireland, which have particularly affected nightclubs.

At present, with large venues such as Hangar and District 8 facing closure in the capital, GUTN are also eager to prioritise small to mid-sized clubs, which are struggling under the high cost of running nights that often last only three to four hours as a result of the steep cost in late licencing.

"Much has changed in the last few years; while big venues and events have enjoyed a golden period, small to mid-sized clubs have struggled under the high cost of running nights that last just three-four hours. Some of our best venues will soon be demolished while the nightclub owners association, the INIA, has dissolved, which all in all leaves us at an important crossroads", a statement from the organisation reads.

Speaking with JOE, DJ Sunil Sharpe of GUTN said on the meeting:


"We operate under legislation written in 1935. The majority of our laws for nightclubs go back to that year and there's been few notable changes, besides those that would swing towards the bar trade and pubs."

"We want to modernise licencing laws and extend opening hours. Nightclubs have been held back over the last 15 years. It really can't remain the case where local councils and judges are simply deciding everything without involving anyone else in the discussion.

"The Deparment of Justice have gone AWOL on us. The sale of alcohol bill is overdue 15 years and we have this very long-winded practice of getting exemption orders to open till late. These cost 410 per night. That's massive and it's before security. On top of this, many venues are renting equipment, so there's no great turnover annually.

"Venues must get those late licences each month, which places in Europe pay a fraction of, but with longer hours. It is leeching off the industry, taking everything and giving us nothing in return. So many small nightclub businesses have fallen by the wayside and closed under the current licencing regime."


Admitting that the nightclub industry might be a small aspect of Ireland's tertiary service, Sunil still argues that something as small as reconsidering closing hours could have a huge knock-on effect for other businesses.

"If we keep those in major cities open, the potential growth is huge. For associated businesses; restaurants, hotels, taxis and bus services there are extra hours, there's more work and money coming through. It's good for tourism.

"It makes no sense to have every city and town on lockdown at 2am. Obviously this is Ireland. We won't just become Germany overnight, but we could be a lot more than we are now. Instead of jumping to conclusions, or predicting how later opening hours will go down, how about we try this on an experimental basis, whether over 6 months or even on special weekends?"

Obviously, one of the major concerns is public order, but Sunil believe that later hours can have the reverse effect.


"It's been tried in Dublin with theatre licences before," he notes.

This was in 2006, when an increased number of nightclubs made avail of theatre licences, which enabled them to remain open until 4am nightly. In the specific city districts where the licences were in action, CSO figures found a drop in public order prosecutions by 4.8% between 2005 and 2008, while the rest of Ireland recorded an increase of 25%.

Still, in August 2008, the Intoxicating Liquor Act removed the use of this sequential closing in the Dublin city.

"These are the facts people want to ignore, but with a relaxed licence system and the right policing, public order offences could be reduced."

The GUTN meeting is scheduled to take place at 6pm on Wednesday 31 January.


For more information, visit their site here.