Leo Varadkar says that Ireland needs to change its licensing laws 2 months ago

Leo Varadkar says that Ireland needs to change its licensing laws

"I think we can do better for people who enjoy the night in Ireland and tourists and it is something that we are very much working on."

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has stated that Ireland's "archaic" licensing laws need to be reformed and brought more in line with other cities in Europe.

Varadkar cited the likes of Spain and Germany, pointing to venues that operate through the night with no notable health and safety issues in contrast to a restricted Irish nightlife option that people may validly regard as "disappointing".

Asked directly if Ireland's licensing laws need to be reformed, Varadkar said:

"I think they do. I don't necessarily think that we need the same licensing laws for everywhere. Where I live is different to town and rural areas are different again. So I think we do need to have a degree of local control around licensing laws.

"But, you know, people who come to Dublin and come to our cities and people that go abroad from Ireland do say that our nightlife can be disappointing in that premises shut down, so it's very different in Madrid or Germany or other places, you know where places can stay open all night.

"And that doesn't lead to public order offences or increased levels of public order offences. It can actually be better in terms of public transport because instead of everyone rushing out on the streets looking for a taxi at the same time, that's spread over a longer period of time. And it's an area that I think we need change in."

Varadkar noted that Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Josepha Madigan is leading a group in this regard.

The Taoiseach also spoke on the possible introduction of a designated night mayor; a position that groups such as Give Us The Night have been campaigning for in recent months following the continued erosion of cultural spaces throughout Ireland.

"We put out the idea of authorities appointing night mayors," said Varadkar.

"That's night mayors and other things to reinvigorate our nightlife, which of course shouldn't be all about drink. You know, one of the weird things is that licensed premises, even if they have stopped serving alcohol, they can't stay open.

"There may be people who still want to stay open and dance and so on and they're not allowed to. Once you stop serving drink you have to close down I think within half an hour or so, so they are really archaic.

"I think we can do better for people who enjoy the night in Ireland and tourists and it is something that we are very much working on," the Taoiseach added.