Nightlife campaign group Give Us The Night has called on the government to establish a pathway for the reopening of clubs and late-night venues.
The independent volunteer group consists of professionals operating within the industry, campaigning for positive changes to nightlife in Ireland, with particular regard to music venues.
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In an open letter addressed to the Taoiseach, Tánaiste, and Minister Catherine Martin, founder Sunil Sharpe pointed out that "Ireland, despite its high rate of vaccine uptake, is the only European country that has made no concrete plans for the return of its events industry and venues.
"At this point many countries have already returned and are navigating their way through the situation and challenges that arise.
"This is a point worth emphasising, that it’s the industry itself that will have the biggest challenges ahead of them when reopening begins, not the Government."
Irish venues, nightclubs and music events are being disregarded, and more closures are certain if this continues. We wrote to @MichealMartinTD @LeoVaradkar @cathmartingreen laying out a range of necessary measures to help our industry reopen safely and swiftly. pic.twitter.com/cDstl6fCP1— Give Us The Night (@GiveUsTheNight) August 5, 2021
Sharpe also wonders "why our industry is now the only remaining one without any date for return. A reopening plan, that has been afforded to every other industry at this point, is long overdue."
Dublin-based nightclub promoter Buzz O’Neill is understandably frustrated. After such a lengthy period of inactivity in his industry, he feels that there should be some clarity on the issue of reopening.
"People in the live event industry, particularly the nightclub business that I’m in, are just dismayed that we’re approaching the final target of 100% of over-18s vaccinated, and the government has released no plan, no road map, no guidelines, as to how we can reopen our businesses after 18 months.
"To put a football analogy on it, the government has completely lost the dressing-room," he adds. "Nobody in the industry has any confidence in them, and the public has no confidence in them."