Gardaí concerned 6am nightclub closing will put further pressure on force

A rise in public order offences could result, sergeants and inspectors’ representative warned

A representative of gardaí has expressed concern at proposed reforms of the licensing system for pubs and clubs which were developed without any consultation with the force.

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee yesterday received Cabinet approval to look again at Ireland’s licensing laws, with nightclubs to be allowed to open until 6am under proposals.

Antoinette Cunningham, the general secretary of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) told RTÉ Radio’s Morning Ireland that the force was already under pressure with regard to its capacity to deal with policing issues. The change in opening hours for pubs and clubs could put further pressure on its ability to perform, she warned.

There had been no consultation at all with members of the force, she said, so they were unaware of any of the details of what would be expected in terms of policing.


Ms Cunningham pointed out that there could be a rise in public order incidents as a result of the changes.

The proposed new rules would also make it easier for bars that wish to open late to do so, with a single annual late licence replacing a system of special exemption orders currently needed on every occasion a venue plans to open past ordinary hours.

Some requirements, including trained security staff, CCTV and the possibility for Garda Siochána, the fire service, the HSE or local communities to object to permits, were flagged in the Government’s proposals.

Ms Cunningham flagged that there could also be issues with public transport, with a shortage of taxis and buses and the possibility of people leaving nightclubs at 6am and interacting with people going to work at that time.

An Garda Siochana already has to cope with societal issues such as homelessness, drugs and mental health which challenges the amount of time they have to deal with straightforward policing issues, she said.

“If our members are dealing with these issues, where are they going to find the time to deal with policing night clubs?” she asked.

It remains to be seen how the 6am closing time will work, she said, with the AGSI awaiting further details.

Vivienne Clarke

Vivienne Clarke is a reporter