University of Limerick Young Fine Gael supports the call from the Irish Nightclub Industry Association for the cut in the late opening fees.
At present, nightclubs are required to pay €410 per night of late night opening, and we agree that a cut to €200 would be sustainable, as this would encourage the creation of jobs in the industry.
Clubs are being forced to charge excessive entrance fees due to declining revenue. A reduction in the late fee will be a boost for clubs, especially in rural areas that are on the brink of closing down.
Late night opening by clubs is not the primary cause of excessive youth drinking anymore. Indeed many clubs have shut their doors because of a complete fall in revenue from drink sales. The problems of excessive drinking by youths are not solved by targeting the clubs.
Most drinking by youths is done outside of the licenced venues now. We as a nation need to reduce the amount we consume in general, but an attitude shift is required. This can only be achieved by starting in our schools, educating teenagers on the effects of excessive drinking. Investment needs to be made available for youth and sport programmes.
Near UL, the Kilmurry Lodge Nightclub closed last February which resulted in the loss of 20 jobs. Students now have no choice but to pay for taxis into the city. This impacts the vast majority of UL students who drink in moderation. An immediate cut in the late fee will cost the Government over €12m in tax revenue, but this will be recouped by boosting the late night economy. We agree with Justice Minister Alan Shatter that this will help job creation.
Chairman, University of Limerick Young Fine Gael, Limerick