What are SEOs and how are they set to impact Irish nightlife?

By Katy Thornton

April 21, 2022 at 3:05pm

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The SEOs were waived initially in an effort to protect Irish nightlife.

 

In October 2021, when nightlife in Ireland returned (for a brief time ahead of Christmas) a waiver was put in place when it came to Special Exemption Orders (SEOs) in order to help bars and clubs recover from the pandemic. This waiver was then extended in January 2022; however as of the end of April, that waiver is set to expire. So what does that mean for these nightlife premises?

According to the Department of Justice website, late night venues such as bars and clubs require SEOs to operate.

"A Special Exemption Order is obtained from the District Court for premises to which an on-licence is attached for on the pretence that a ‘special occasion’ is taking place on the premises. A Special Exemption Order is required for each and every time a licensed premises wants to trade past normal opening hours and permits extended opening hours (to 2.30am)."

The fees associated with SEOs can cost as much as €410 per night. If these fees come back from May 2022, they will cause huge financial pressure for venues that have essentially only been able to open for less than six months in total from the last two years.

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Give Us The Night, an independent volunteer service which works in aid of Irish nightlife, are raising awareness about the reintroduction of these fees. The below video breaks the information down easily and manageably.

A revised licensing bill is expected by the end of the year, but until then this will be a huge blow for venues trying to recover. Inevitably venues will choose to open less frequently, host fewer events, which would be a terrible shame given the last two years of the pandemic.

What can we do?

Give Us The Night urge everyone to contact the relevant Ministers about this issue and ask that they continue the waiver until at least the end of the year. You can do so through this link HERE.

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After a difficult two years for Irish nightlife, the waiving of SEOs for another few months until the new licensing laws come in would prove much better for these venues. No one wants to see more bar and club closures.

Header image via Shutterstock

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