Next time you’re in Havana’s, or Voodoo or wherever you go, imagine this: instead of being in the club by ten-o-clock you’re only starting to get ready for pre-drinks, putting on your shirt, applying your lipstick, cracking open your double-naggin for your first drink. Instead of racing to town to guarantee entry before a stupidly early hour, you cruise in sometime after midnight knowing you have hours and hours of time to party. Enjoying yourself while being knowledgeable in the fact that you aren’t limited to the early closing time of two-thirty a.m.
One of the primary aims of Give Us The Night (GUTN) is to alter club-licensing laws in Ireland: the main objective being the extension of club opening hours, providing a nightlife which lasts well into the early morning. Installing such opening hours broadly widens the horizons of nightlife entertainment, and leaves you with more options than say, queuing for Charlie’s in the early morning. In order for laws in Ireland to be changed, they and their limitations must first be examined.
The Special Exemption Order, which functions as a system to provide bars and venues with late licensing agreements is very outdated and is strenuous finance wise on indigenous clubs and pubs in Ireland. The law, which was altered and became stricter in 2008, increased prices meaning clubs now have to pay €410 per night to stay open late, a move which has led to widespread job loss and venue closure in the last ten-years or so. GUTN states: “A late-night venue in Ireland that would choose to open 6 days a week would pay approximately €128,000 per year (plus legal fees for each monthly court application) on SEOs. This is in addition to rates, rent, insurance, running costs, wages etc.”
Costly licenses also inhibit premises from developing or expanding, and as a result our clubs in Ireland are falling behind in terms of venues that are found around Europe. Reducing SEOs, or completely abolishing them and replacing them with something akin to a cheaper annual license fee would provide a means for the nightlife economy to develop into the booming industry it could be. Allowing clubs to have more access to their own capital would help venues to develop constantly, providing leeway for clubs to tamper with different types of music, lighting, events etc. GUTN suggests that properly developed venues would also be appropriate for use throughout the day for events, meaning the club you got the shift in the last night could be the cinema or café you also get a kiss in this afternoon.
Clubs in Ireland try their best under strict laws to provide a nightlife with the most amount of craic, and we Irish love to party and celebrate. Altering laws would give late night venues in Ireland the opportunity to flourish into attractive, dazzling clubs and pubs, and little by little, we would be able to catch up to our European counterparts.