Plans to introduce longer opening hours for pubs and nightclubs will be discussed by the Cabinet this morning.
Minister for Justice Helen McEntee is seeking Government approval to reform the country’s 200-year-old licensing system.
Under the plan, pub opening hours would be standardised across the week giving them the option of opening from 10.30am to 12.30am everyday.
Nightclubs would be allowed to remain open until 6am, but alcohol could not be served after 5am and dancing could continue until closing time.
It is envisaged that these nightclub permits will largely be availed of by bigger nightclubs and venues, mainly in cities.
Opening hours for late bars will remain at 2.30am and a new late bar permit will be required.
Late bar and nightclubs will have to apply to the courts for permits and they will need CCTV on the premises along with fully accredited security staff.
It is expected Ms McEntee will tell colleagues that Ireland will maintain a restrictive sale of alcohol licensing system overall.
Licences can only be granted by the courts – with objections allowed from fire services, local authorities, the Health Service Executive, local communities and the gardaí.
The changes to the licensing laws are expected to be enacted next year.
Nightclub owner Ian Redmond welcomed the announcement.
Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Mr Redmond said the Nightclub Bar Association began lobbying for changes to opening hours two years ago.
“We are now two years down the line and we’re looking for this legislation bill to be passed and legislation to be brought in as soon as possible,” he said.
“The cost of running our businesses is crippling and the fact that we can open till later in the morning, till 6am, it’s fantastic. So, we’re really excited about it.”
He said this provides the opportunity and option to bars and clubs to stay open.
Separately, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly will also bring a memo to Cabinet this morning on the purchase of additional monkeypox vaccines to support the ongoing vaccination programme, RTÉ News understands.
It follows a direct deal with the manufacturer Bavarian Nordic to buy 15,000 vaccine doses, which sources said will provide a significant boost to the programme.
Under the terms of the agreement, the first 5,000 vaccine doses are due to become available in November with the remainder becoming available next year.