CORK publicans have said there is not enough demand to keep the doors of licensed premises open later under new alcohol licensing laws allowing later opening hours for bars and nightclubs.
Cabinet agreed on Tuesday on the outline of legislation which would allow pubs to open from 10.30am to 12.30am, seven days a week, while nightclubs would not have to close until 6am.
Opening hours for late bars will remain at 2.30am and a new late bar permit will be required.
The changes are expected to be enacted next year if the legislation is passed by the Oireachtas.
Speaking to, general manager of Reardens on Washington Street John Styles said that he doesn’t believe there is enough demand in Cork for nightclubs to stay open until 6am.
“We haven’t got the population and there’s only a couple of nightclubs and those nightclubs are battling out over a Friday and Saturday night and then you’re looking at staffing and going into a shift work scenario and wage costs.”
Mr Styles said that Reardens can adapt if needs be but that he doesn’t see Reardens or too many nightclubs in Cork city staying open much later.
Owner of SoHo late bar Seán McCarthy said he was surprised at the decision made by Cabinet “without any major consultation”.
He said that while it is something that would have been welcomed a couple of years ago, that now publicans are relooking at their business models because of energy costs, opening hours, and profitability.
Mr McCarthy suggested that the decision should have been made to amalgamate the late bar with the regular bar, allowing them to open until 11.30pm earlier in the week and until 1am or 1.30am on Friday and Saturday.
Cork city and county chairperson of the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) Michael O’Donovan welcomed an earlier start on Sundays which the VFI lobbied extensively for, but said that members “just don’t see the demand for it anywhere across the country, even here in Cork city”.
Echoing Mr Styles’ comments on nightclubs opening times, Mr O’Donovan said:
However, FREE NOW Head of Operations and Public Affairs Fiona Brady said that updating the licensing laws will help to ease clustered public demand for taxis at peak times in city centre locations, enabling drivers to help more passengers get home via taxi.