Galway’s night-time economy set to benefit from new licensing laws

Proposed changes to extend licensing hours for pubs and nightclubs could “prove beneficial for Galway,” a local Councillor has said.

Galway’s night-time economy has been heavily impacted by Covid-19 restrictions. The new laws being considered by Minister for Justice Helen McEntee include staggered and extended closing times for pubs.

Other measures include trading hours for pubs and off-licenses to be extended on Sundays. Annual nightclub permits may be amended to allow for longer opening hours. The aim of these changes is to help boost business for currently struggling pubs and nightclubs, post-pandemic.

Galway City East Councillor, Owen Hanley of the Social Democrats, said that he is happy to see the planned changes. However, he noted there’s still a long way to go in order to bring the night-time economy of Galway and Ireland up to speed with other European countries.

“I’ve always been a big believer that Ireland, not just Galway, can do a lot more for the night-time economy, so it’s great that there is some progress on the way” he said. “Our trading hours are ridiculous – they’re leading to some situations where we have everyone dumped onto the streets at once… it’s not leading to great behaviour on the streets, and it’s not the safest environment either.”

He went on to explain that the night-time Galway economy is in great need of change, as the Social Democrats submitted in the Galway City Development Plan.

“Galway City at night needed to change before COVID-19, but now we’re out of time. The Galway Development Plan allows us to finally get to grips with what we can do here in Galway, and actually make a night-time strategy. Galway City has so much culture – we need to make sure that the culture has the light it deserves at all hours of the day,” he said.

He re-iterated that while these proposed changes and a Night-Time Economy Taskforce, led by Minister Catherine Martin, are welcome, there’s still a lot to be done. This will include listening to pub and club owners and the youth population of Galway. “Often our night-time economy is led by the young people, so we need to make sure that their voices are also heard. We need to provide for a very unique workforce that have very unique needs,” he said.

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