Plan to extend opening hours


A chara, – As part of a plan to revitalise the night-time economy when we emerge from lockdown, Minister for Justice Helen McEntee is reported to be considering longer opening hours for pubs and nightclubs (“Minister to announce proposals to reduce legal action costs and updating of pub hours”, News, February 22nd).

It’s suggested these measures will help these businesses to “get back on their feet”.

Little thought seems to be given to the increased numbers of vulnerable customers who may as a result fall over their feet.

Some people have definitely benefited from the present prolonged period of enforced abstinence. It is not so long ago since it was decided to dispense with the long-established custom of pubs being closed on Good Friday. Ironically we now have a situation where the pubs are closed every day.

Do we really want to tempt fate again? – Is mise,



Co Wicklow.

Sir, – I was quite shocked to hear of the proposal to extend pub opening hours.

My husband and I own a country pub in a small village in west Sligo, which has been closed since mid-March 2020, with the exception of a week in September.

We do not want opening hours extended. We just want to be able to open. We understand why we had to close, and have adhered to all Government guidelines since this nightmare began.

It feels like this announcement is a distraction thrown from Leinster House to deflect from the destruction of the pub trade, especially in rural Ireland.

Perhaps the super-pubs and nightclubs in the larger urban areas will welcome this news.

However, Minister for Justice Helen McEntee really needs to think this one through before any law is passed. I ask her to rethink this and think of the rural pub owners, the backbone of many communities. – Yours, etc,



Sheridan’s Bar,



Co Sligo.

Sir, – I had to check that it wasn’t April 1st when I saw that Government, ministerial and civil servants’ time was being devoted to allowing hospitality open until 2.30am.

We are facing the biggest economic, health and financial challenges ever faced in modern times, and our Government is spending time on seeing if we should open up units which have been closed for a year, to accommodate tourists who will be in 10-day quarantine for the foreseeable future.

“Chocolate teapot” comes to mind. – Yours, etc,



Co Dublin.