DUBLIN, Ireland: Ireland's bars and nightclubs will be allowed to operate into the early morning under new regulations being proposed by the government.
Permitting bars and nightclubs to remain open "well into the wee hours" will be proposed in the new Sale of Alcohol Bill to be introduced by Justice Minister Helen McEntee in September.
The Irish Mirror is reporting that the later operating hours will be "major" and will "bring the licensing laws into the 21st century."
The reforms for bars and nightclubs are part of efforts to stimulate the economy after the hardships of the Covid lockdowns. They will be introduced by McEntee as part of a wider government economic plan.
While it has not been revealed how late bars and clubs will be allowed to remain open, the government is aware that Irish nightlife must compete with those in European cities where closing times are between 4 and 6 am.
"Members from my department, myself included, are part of a taskforce.
"So everything that I do and everything that we do, we are doing collectively and working together and there's a huge amount of joined-up thinking," said McEntee, as reported by the Irish Mirror.
McEntee added that as part of a wider plan, she hopes public transport will run later hours.
"It's not just about making sure we have a vibrant and open night-time economy, but that it's safe as people can get to and from our towns and cities and villages," McEntee said, as reported by the journal.ie.
Arts Minister Catherine Martin is the minister in charge of developing plans to extend hours for Irish nightlife.
The night-time economy taskforce was created to reinvigorate Ireland's nightlife, which is also critical for the nation's tourism sector, said officials.
Among the expected outcomes will be to eliminate the many laws governing bars and nightclubs, some dating to 1830, and replace them with a new unified Sale of Alcohol Bill.
Martin earlier said she would like to see European-style nightlife, in which cafes, bars and nightclubs remain open until 4 am and beyond.
"I think in shutting down Dublin, we're working way behind our other European cities," said Martin.
"It can be done, it can be done in a safe way and I think that option definitely should be there. As I've said, it's breathing life in and new opportunities for this sector," as reported by the Irish Mirror.