- 05 Jul 22
The Sunday Social LGBTQ+ disco night ran for 14 years in Dublin. Ireland's licensing laws have long-been seen as detrimental to the success of clubs and other late-opening establishments.
The Sunday Social club, which takes place at Farrier & Draper on Dublin's South William Street, has announced its closure today following its Pride wrap party last weekend.
Ran by Maxwell "Buzz" O'Neill, the owner confirmed the sad news via Twitter and Instagram today, citing the lack of progress on update late licensing laws.
"Sadly yes. After 14 years we have to close up," the club night's organisers tweeted. "Post reopening has seen the most stringent enforcement by Gardaí of the 1am Sunday closing. With no sign of the new extended hours/licensing bill getting passed anytime soon, were left with no choice. Cant run a club for two hours."
Sadly yes. After 14 years we have to close up. Post reopening has seen the most stringent enforcement by gardai of the 1am sunday closing. With no sign of the new extended hours/ licensing bill getting passed anytime soon, were left with no choice. Cant run a club for 2 hours pic.twitter.com/lZFVWBShub
— Sunday social (@Sundaysocialgay) July 5, 2022
The news has been met with disappointment from those in the nightlife industry and fans of the LGBTQ+-friendly disco night.
This is so sad. I had some of the best (and messiest) nights in Sunday Social.
Sunday Social after Pride last week was phenomenal. The music was perfect.
This is a real shame. I hope we can get the longer hours we were promised soon, and @Sundaysocialgay can return! https://t.co/Z9zxsb0aKb
— Aaron S (@arneldo) July 5, 2022
This is actually so sad to see. As someone who work’s Fri/Sat night in the service industry Sunday social was always such a nice vibe and chance to have a bit of the weekend off yourself. https://t.co/VGzl5COY3J
— 🌈✨🔥☀️♻️🤪 (@baesness) July 5, 2022
Sunil Sharpe, DJ and Give Us The Night organiser, also tweeted his frustrations:
"It's a joke. The amount of time we've been kept waiting for reform, without Govt putting any temporary measures in place, is astounding. Had all of the pandemic to plan to help sector return strongly and this is where it's still at. The 1930s would've been better than this."
It's a joke. The amount of time we've been kept waiting for reform, without Govt putting any temporary measures in place, is astounding. Had all of the pandemic to plan to help sector return strongly and this is where it's still at. The 1930s would've been better than this https://t.co/Dey6T6HcbB
— Sunil Sharpe (@sunilsharpe) July 5, 2022
Nightclubs currently close at 2:30am at the latest in Ireland. There have been last ditch attempts to derail reformed licensing bills in the past, and the current licensing bill (the Sale of Alcohol bill) was first drafted back in 2005. It has clearly taken quite some time to be pushed through.
As part of the Justice Plan 2022 published by Minister for Justice Helen McEntee in April, new laws are expected to be enacted to update and modernise licensing law through the Sale of Alcohol Bill.
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar recently spoke about the aim to progress past the need for the current licensing laws. However, progress has proven incredibly slow-moving.
"From the night-time economy point of view, we believe we can get the legislation done this year," Varadkar stated at a press conference on the Basic Income for the Arts pilot scheme. "The whole idea is to move away from existing licensing laws, which are kind of a fiction - the idea of a special exemption order in favour of a proper nightclub license. There mightn't be a huge number of them, but it does mean that there would be a certain number of nightclub licenses. The ambition is that Irish cities will have a nightlife that's as good as anything in Lisbon or Berlin, and that's the plan, but we hope to have the legislation done this year."
Minister Hildegarde Naughton said last September that the "outdated" Licensing Acts, Registration of Clubs Acts, and the Public Dance Hall Act 1935 will be repealed and replaced with "updated and streamlined 21st century provisions" regarding the sale and consumption of alcohol in licensed premises. She added that she hoped the reform would "develop a more vibrant night-life in our cities and towns.”
A report by the Night-time Economy Taskforce also recommended that Dublin needs more 24-hour bus routes and that bus services in other cities should be made more regular.
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