Bars and clubs that play live music would be protected from noise complaints under a new government plan 1 year ago

Bars and clubs that play live music would be protected from noise complaints under a new government plan

The state's restrictive licensing laws could also be relaxed in an attempt to save Ireland's nightlife.

Music venues in Ireland could be protected by a new law designed to stop the closure of cultural venues in Dublin. 


Josepha Madigan, the culture minister, told JOE that she wants to copy a UK “agent of change” law, which is designed to force developers to consider the impact of building near live music venues. 

Madigan was speaking following the announcement that the Bernard Shaw pub is closing its Portobello location after 13 years, and relocating to the northside. It follows the permanent loss of a number of high profile venues in the capital, including The Tivoli, The Wright Venue and Hangar. 

Earlier this year, the Bernard Shaw’s beer garden was the subject of a number of noise complaints from local residents. Land near the pub was recently sold to a property developer. 

Last summer, England introduced a new planning policy which made developers responsible for noise complaints when they built housing next to live music venues. The “agent of change” principle means that the person responsible for building next to a venue that makes noise - like a bar or a club - must be responsible for managing the impact of building there. 

Speaking exclusively to JOE, the culture minister said she had already spoken to Eoghan Muprhy, the housing minister, about bringing in a similar law here. 

Ms Madigan said the agent of change law was “really interesting.”

“I think that was very exciting, it’s something that’s working well in the UK. There’s no reason I don’t envisage why we can’t bring in something like that here, because together with the local authorities we want to ensure that we protect our cultural spaces,” she said. 


“And the artists are part of the fabric and the DNA of being Irish and we want to allow them to have the spaces, and enjoy themselves and do something a bit different on a night out.” 

The arts minister had already set up two late night culture pilot schemes in Dublin and Cork. She said that those groups will also examine extending Ireland’s licensing laws, which have been blamed for damaging the country’s nightlife. 

“Our licensing laws will be something that will be looked at. That’s what the pilot groups will be tasked to do,” Ms Madigan said. 

On Monday night, Dublin city councillors voted to protect cultural spaces, and limit the number of hotels in the capital. Ms Madigan said the motion was “symbolic, more than anything.”

“Ultimately any sort of planning in terms of cultural spaces, it’s at the behest of the local authority,” Madigan said. 


“I think the fact that there was a motion passed shows that there is a conversation happening.” 

A number of campaigners trying to protect cultural spaces in Dublin have highlighted the number of hotels being built in the capital. Ms Madigan said that “there has to be a place for hotels,”  but “there could be something worked in that any commercial entity has to also encompass a cultural aspect to it.”