City Gardaí stand firm in face of pubs furoreAugust 17, 2012 - 7:15am
BY DARA BRADLEY
Galway Gardaí have moved to clarify that nothing has changed in relation to the closing hours of the city’s bars, ‘late night’ pubs or nightclubs amid claims that jobs will be lost in the hospitality industry due to stricter enforcement.
Garda sources say that the existing licensing laws governing late night opening of pubs and nightclubs have possibly been enforced more rigorously in the past couple of weeks, but nothing has changed in terms of the actual law on opening hours – late pubs and clubs can open until 2am Friday and Saturday and 1am the rest of the week, if they have special exemptions.
Local pub and nightclub workers have launched an online campaign highlighting the implementation of the licensing laws with more zeal as being a threat to their livelihoods. “Galway will be effectively closed down during the week,” said the founder of the online petition ‘Stop Early Closing for Pubs and Clubs in Galway’.
A spokesperson at Galway Garda Station confirmed that inspections of late night premises in the city centre had been carried out in recent weeks to ensure they are complying with licensing laws in relation to opening hours, and in particular late night exemptions. There were no prosecutions pending following the inspections carried out at night in bars and pubs in the city in the past month, he said.
The Garda spokesperson moved to clarify the opening hours of pubs and nightclubs. He explained that pubs with a seven-day normal licence can open from 10.30am until 11.30pm Monday to Thursday, 10.30am to 12.30am on Friday and Saturday, and from 12.30pm to 11pm on Sunday. Late bars and nightclubs can apply to the District Court for what’s called special exemptions, which allow those premises to serve alcohol up to 1am on Monday through to Thursday and from 2am on Friday and Saturday – the exemption is 1am on a Sunday.
He said there was no distinction between a nightclub or a late bar and both types of businesses must apply for this special exemption and close by 1am Monday to Thursday and 2am Friday and Saturday.
“I don’t know what the fuss is about or why there is a furore. This has been the case for years, late bars and nightclubs apply to the District Court for special exemptions, and that is 1am up to Thursday and 2am on Friday and Saturday. It has been the same for years and publicans and certainly their solicitors who apply for the special exemptions on their behalf know exactly what the closing time is. There should be no confusion,” said the Garda spokesperson.
Each District Court has different opening hours, which is set by the District Court judge, which is why Cork and Dublin have later opening times than Galway.
For more on this story, see the Galway City Tribune.