Cork’s arts and entertainment sector could be revolutionised with the announcement of a new night-time economy taskforce, according to Green Party city councillors.
They have welcomed the establishment of the taskforce, under the remit of the Department of Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht, saying it has the potential to develop a vibrant and sustainable night-time culture and economy.
They also add that a Night Mayor for Cork could transform the sector in the city for life after Covid.
Green Party Councillor for Cork City North East Oliver Moran said the taskforce could assist musicians, venues and other night culture workers who have been affected by Covid-19 restrictions.
“The cancellation of the Jazz Festival has been a blow to those in the city relying on the night-time economy.
"Before the crisis, Cork was already a Purple Flag city, the international award for excellence in the night time economy. We will need to prepare now so that places like Oliver Plunkett Street and MacCurtain Street, that offer a nighttime culture experience unique to Cork, are ready to bounce back when restrictions are lifted,” he said.
He highlighted how the transformation of Prince’s Street showed a willingness to innovate and the solidarity between businesses in the area.
Councillor Moran continued: “The renaissance of MacCurtain Street, and the proposed investment in the street for 2021, is another example of very positive collaboration between businesses and local government.
“This task force will be another forum to look more broadly at challenges facing night-time culture and the night-time economy, whether that is regulations, licencing laws, transport, or other issues,” he said.
Meanwhile, Green Party Councillor for Cork City South East, Lorna Bogue, said the idea of a Night Mayor could prove essential given the emphasis on the night-time economy.
“Before the pandemic I had put a motion in to Cork City Council, to explore having a Night Mayor in the city, as such initiatives have worked in other jurisdictions.
“We need to be innovative to find ways to change our night culture so it is more than what it was before, while being in line with public health advice.
“The night-time economy isn’t just about going out for a few drinks, it’s about getting more out of our public spaces, it’s about livability. Late-night cafes, and more accessible arts & music venues, particularly for younger people, will also be key, and a Night Mayor could play a central role in that.
“There is a real opportunity for the arts here if we can have a champion for nightlife in Cork city," Councillor Bogue concluded.