Date for reopening of nightclubs and live events sector needed - campaign group

Role of antigen testing needs to be clarified, Give Us The Night say

The government needs to come up with a clear roadmap for reopening the live events sector and nightclubs, a campaign group has said.

The Give Us The Night Campaign has sent a letter to t Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, and Minister for Tourism, Culture and Arts Catherine Martin, asking for the sector to be reopened as soon as possible to prevent further job losses and venue closures.

The letter also said live events with no social distancing should be trialled in September, and antigen testing and expanded PCR testing should play a role in the sector’s reopening.


Many skilled staff have already been lost to other sectors or have emigrated, and many venues have been closed permanently, the letter states, and this will continue if nothing is done. “Our industry has been shut for almost 17 months now,” the letter said.


The letter was signed by Sunil Sharpe, a Dublin-based DJ and founder of the Give Us The Night campaign, which aims to improve nightlife in Ireland.

The campaign represents staff, DJs, promoters and venues across the country.

“Ireland, despite its high rate of vaccine uptake, is the only European country that has made no concrete plans for the return of its event industry and venues,” the letter said.

The letter added many other European countries have already returned to indoor live events, and are navigating through challenges associated with reopening.

The campaign noted that bars and restaurants have reopened for indoor service, but “no meaningful consideration has been given to nightclubs or indoor and outdoor music events, nor was any clear update given.”


The letter said it was also “hard to understand” why no update has been given on the role of antigen testing in the live events sector.

The campaign said they were glad that sporting events have returned in large numbers, but they say a plan for their sector is “long overdue.”

“We wonder why our industry is now the only remaining one without any date for return.”

A series of demands were also made in the letter, including non-socially distanced trial events in September regardless of Covid case numbers; a lifting of the ban on dancing and live music; expanded PCR testing and an introduction of rapid antigen testing; a starting date for all live events no later than October; greater use of outdoor spaces in collaboration with local authorities; and clear guidance on ventilation as well as funding to buy new air systems and filters.

“The Government’s response to reopening has been inadequate, inflexible and lacking a basic understanding of how the industry works,” the letter said.

The Department of An Taoiseach, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, the Department of Health and the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media have been contacted for comment.