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'Total betrayal': Hospitality stakeholders unhappy tickets required for nightclub access

Newly published guidelines state anyone attending a nightclub will need to have purchased a ticket.

STAKEHOLDERS IN THE late-night hospitality sector have strongly criticised newly published guidelines that state anyone attending a nightclub will need to have purchased a ticket.

“Ticketing is required, for the purposes of contact tracing, for all nightclubs and venues and will be the subject of regulations to be put in place next week,” the guidelines published by Fáilte Ireland this evening say.

The Licensed Vintners Association (LVA), the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI), and the Music and Entertainment Association of Ireland (MEAI) have all said this evening that they rejected the proposed ticketing requirement in meetings with Government officials.

A spokesperson for the Department of Tourism said it was decided that ticketing for nightclubs and venues should be a mandatory requirement given the “ongoing deterioration of the epidemiological situation”. 

“The Department met with stakeholder organisations in the hospitality and live events sector yesterday and today to outline and discuss the guidelines; while many aspects of the guidelines were welcomed by the stakeholders, the requirement around ticketing was not among them,” the spokesperson said. 

Sunil Sharpe of the Give us the Night campaign said the ticket requirement was thrown out earlier this week because “it was a bad idea, but now back on the table at the very last minute today”.

“Why? What need is there for it if everything else, like contact tracing, is being done? We haven’t even opened yet and this is the level of trust we’re shown,” Sharpe said.

Sharpe said the requirement outlined in the guidelines is “completely flawed” and that Give Us The Night completely opposes and rejects the idea.

“It’s crazy to drop this on us after 19 months shut. The Government will have to rationalise this decision on so many fronts,” he added.

The VFI said that making late-night events ticketed and purchased in advance “will lead to public order incidents as large ticketless crowds gather outside clubs”.

“When it comes to reopening guidelines for the late night sector the government appear to be all over the place with no practical knowledge of how the sector operates. Yesterday it was suggested events would be all ticket only for that stipulation to be removed from the guidelines, yet hours before clubs reopen tickets will once again be mandatory,” said VFI Chief Executive Padraig Cribben.

“After being constrained for so long the sector deserves better. Right now it’s in a total mess with no leadership from government,” Cribben added.

In a tweet this evening, MEAI described the inclusion of ticking as “total betrayal”.

“These are not the guidelines that were presented and subsequently emailed to the industry stakeholders at and after last night’s meeting with the industry.”

The LVA said in a statement that evening that it told government officials yesterday that the requirement was “completely unmanageable”.

“We can’t believe that this is being proposed by Government. As we made clear at the meeting this is completely unworkable. It is a disaster for late bars, nightclubs and musicians. It simply won’t be possible to put such a system in place, it contradicts the very nature of social activity in Ireland,” Donall O’Keeffe, Chief Executive of the LVA said.

O’Keeffe said that if Government goes ahead with these requirements then ad hoc late-night socialising will not be possible and that it could have “a devastating impact on DJs and live performers as most pubs simply won’t put on such entertainment”.

“The very fact that this bombshell was dropped on the trade at 6.30pm on the very evening they reopen after 585 days of closure shows how appalling the Government planning for our reopening has been. The Government process to reopen our sector has become Keystone Cops meets Father Ted stuff.”

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