Staggered pub closing times to help make streets safer

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Staggered pub closing times to help make streets safer


Josepha Madigan: plan for night mayors. Picture: Collins
Josepha Madigan: plan for night mayors. Picture: Collins

Pub closing times could be staggered so thousands of drinkers aren’t going home at the same time, Culture Minister Josepha Madigan has said.

Currently the majority of bars in towns and cities close between 1.30am and 2am at weekends with the result that thousands of people spill on to the streets at once. In urban areas, the situation frequently results in large queues for taxis and can pose a challenge for gardaí.

Now as part of their local election campaign, Fine Gael is proposing the appointment of ‘night mayors’. The ambassadorial role would involve working to advance and improve night-time entertainment, creative and cultural offerings in towns around the country.

As part of the process, Ms Madigan suggested licensing laws could be looked at.

“It is an issue we’re looking at. There is, perhaps, an argument to say we could stagger an approach so that not everybody is coming out on the street at the same time,” Ms Madigan said.

She said licensing rules needed to be worked out in conjunction with all the stakeholders affected. The Fine Gael plan involved much more than nightclubs and would encourage people to look at alternatives, she added.

“It’s about opening art galleries and perhaps showcasing different types of events in our cultural institutions,” she said.

“Rather than somebody going out on a date to a pub or a restaurant in the evenings, they might go to the museum or a gallery.”

The night mayor idea is based on positions in cities such as London and Amsterdam. The proposal is that the person would build on existing initiatives like Culture Night or regional events such as Riverfest Limerick or the Galway International Arts Festival.

The minister is also planning a “mapping exercise” to identify all the cultural venues in towns with a view to establishing if they can be better used.

“I’m currently engaging with stakeholders and will be reporting back to Government in the coming months on the options: what type of cultural events do and do not work at night time, and what are the challenges for running these events and which venues are the most suitable? This will identify the areas that need to be addressed and will help us take action and bring about change,” she said.

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Amsterdam has had a ‘nachtburgemeester’ since 2003 when the role was set up to address the decline of nightlife in the city. A flagship project has been the introduction of 10 24-hour venues on the western outskirts of the city.

Irish Independent


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