Doherty calls for an extension of all Dance Licences

23rd July 2020 - Regina Doherty

Senator Regina Doherty has called for an immediate extension of at least 6 months to all current Public Dancing Licences granted under the Public Dance Halls Act 1935.

Separate to alcohol licences, the Public Dance Halls Act 1935 requires a licence be held by premises where “dancing which is open to the public and in which persons present are entitled to participate actively”.

The Leader of Seanad Éireann said many businesses have faced huge challenges due to Covid-19 and some cannot afford to pay the fee of €500 to acquire this annual licence.

Senator Doherty said, “The annual licence acquiring process involves making an application to the District Court, which costs a premises upwards of €500 when combined with a music and singing licence.

“The hospitality sector has been absolutely hammered this year and expecting businesses to be able to pay such a fee when they are just getting back on their feet is totally unreasonable.

“In my local pub, Swans of Curragha, not a single jig has been danced or pint poured since the 15th of March. For small businesses like this, €500 is a huge sum right now.

“It’s not just nightclubs that are required to hold such a licence. Small rural pubs, GAA Clubs, late bars, community centres, hotels and many more around the country hold such licences.

“The whole sector has been shut down since early March, so they should now be given an extension to all licences of at least 6 months.”

Senator Doherty suggested that a change may be needed to the Public Dance Halls Act which came into law in 1935.

She added, “This act came into law in 1935. The way people, especially young people, enjoy nights out and dancing now has changed drastically.

“This act doesn’t give any further entitlements to a bar or club owner with respect to the serving of alcohol, or opening times, it is simply required if people are allowed to dance.

“Once clubs and bars can reopen properly when safe to do so, a licence to dance should be the last thing they need. After a tough few months, we should all be able to ‘dance the night away’, with or without a licence.”

ENDS

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