Galway City Council needs to urgently an night-time economy advisor to help boost businesses following the closure of iconic nightclubs, a city councillor said.
Councillor Owen Hanley said that there is an urgent need to fill such a role following decades of inaction in supporting the night time economy.
This comes after the announcement that Electric and Halo nightclubs are closing permanently, with the building to go up for sale.
The clubs said that they made the decision to throw in the towel as they could no longer hold on for a reopening of the sector.
Councillor Hanley said that this will “profoundly change” the night-time culture in Galway City, describing it as a wake up call for governments which have not supported the night-time economy.
“The closure of Electric and Halo nightclubs is a shocking blow to Galway’s night time culture and economy. This impacts skilled workers, our social fabric and economic offering,” Owen Hanley said.
While the restrictions on the night-time economy over the last two years clearly played their part, Councillor Hanley says that decades of inaction to support the industry is at the heart of this news.
“The night-time economy has been ignored for years. The culture and identity that it offers completely overlooked with more barriers than supports put in place.
“Only recently has this begun to change and industry representative groups like Give Us The Night are finally being heard. But as is clear, for some this will be too little too late.”
In their own statement concerning the closure, Halo and Electric said that they have “waited a lifetime” for changes to the night-time economy, and licencing laws, to change in a way that would allow “real viability” for the sector.
Last September 15 the government published the report of the Night-Time Economy Taskforce, which recommended that local authorities should hire such an advisor.
Councillor Hanley said that this cannot come soon enough, and while the final details on filling this role are still being awaited from the Department, there is an urgent need now.
The taskforce’s report went on to say that a single advisor for the night-time economy would not be enough to “drive change”, and recommended that councils establish other supporting structures, such as diverse Committee examining the issue.
This should undertake a “detailed and far reaching” consultation on how to boost the night-time economy in city/town centres, but also identify areas outside of the centre which can be developed.