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DublinTown Welcomes Announcement To Review The Country’s Licensing Laws

  • Mon 22 February, 2021

DublinTown is pleased to see that the Government has committed itself to addressing our antiquated licensing laws. The Evening & Night-Time Economy (ENTE) is of increasing importance, research in the UK shows that the ENTE accounts for approximately one third of town centre economies, and Dublin Town has called for updating of the relevant laws for a number of years.

The growing ENTE comes at a time when more people are expected to live within core city centres and the needs of both commercial and residential interests need to be balanced through soundproofing and careful planning and design of town centres.

DublinTown has been active in the promotion and development of the ENTE on the international stage. Dublin and Ennis were the first Irish Towns to gain the coveted Purple Flag award in Ireland and following this award DublinTown CEO Richard Guiney went on to chair Purple Flag Ireland from 2013 to 2016 at a time when the award grew to 23 towns in Ireland from a standing start. DublinTown subsequently worked with the San Francisco based Responsible Hospitality Institute in its Diageo sponsored Global Cities Project which considered international trends in city economies after dark and appropriate policy responses. This culminated in a report on the Dublin ENTE  (click here to view) which included recommendations for changes as outlined today and also the modernisation of the public dance hall act of 1935, which is no longer fit for purpose.

Despite encouraging trends pre-covid there is a concern shared by many around Dublin of losing some of its iconic arts and culture spaces. A vibrant arts and culture scene is crucial to the city and business diversity. In its ENTE submission to the Government, DublinTown has called for the introduction of protected uses within the planning act which would give long-term protection to arts and cultural spaces within the city.

Reform of licensing laws is just one aspect needed for a vibrant ENTE in Dublin City Centre. The proposed reforms as announced today will assist in addressing the ‘terminal hour’ when many patrons find themselves exiting premises and seeking transport home at the same time. However, there are other issues which must also be addressed. If we want a strong and quality ENTE, we all have a part to play including state and private bodies. We will need 24-hour public transport, investment in public spaces including outdoor lighting and public seating, use of facilities such as car parks for the use as taxi ranks that would allow for seating, toilet facilities and potentially food offerings all within safe, secure and monitored locations.

This is all part of the need for better planning of the city post pandemic.