DUBLIN, Ireland: A significant report concerning proposed modifications to pub licensing laws is set to be published.
The Oireachtas Justice Committee has been scrutinizing the changes by Minister Helen McEntee, which include suggestions to stagger and extend opening hours for nightclubs and late bars.
James Lawless, the chair of the committee and a Fianna Fail TD, raised questions about whether adequate support is in place for introducing the proposed legislation for the nighttime economy. Lawless pondered, "Is it give us the night, or is it give us the drink?" emphasizing that the focus should not solely be on alcohol. He stated, "We want to support the nighttime economy, just not with a drink in hand."
Lawless highlighted that Ireland ranks among the top 10 countries globally for binge drinking. He emphasized the need for comprehensive support systems, encompassing public transport and public health measures, should there be deregulation. While he welcomed efforts to streamline licensing laws, he stressed the importance of maturing attitudes toward alcohol, noting that one in ten people in Ireland has an alcohol-use disorder, a relatively high figure.
"We want to party like southern Europeans, but we have a drinking culture like northern Europeans, and we really need to square that circle," Lawless concluded, underscoring the complexity of addressing alcohol-related issues while encouraging a vibrant nighttime economy.