‘They are grasping at straws’ – socialisers have their say on the midnight curfew

Paul Hyland

The nightlife sector – and nightclubs in particular – has been spinning since Tuesday’s announcement that a curfew will be reintroduced for licensed premises, starting from tonight.

The new midnight curfew comes just four weeks after nightclubs reopened for the first time in almost two years.

Speaking on Tuesday, Taoiseach Micheál Martin admitted the early closing time would essentially shutter these late-night venues once more.

People socialising in Dublin city centre last night were mixed in their views about the new curfew.

There was a general feeling that closing at midnight would do little to curb the spread of Covid-19.

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Some believe the restrictions come down too heavily on nightclubs and late bars, while others think it is an understandable decision.

Friends Amanda Keane and Lynn Tuite, who were socialising on South William Street, were divided in their opinions.

“I think that the curfew is a good idea,” Ms Keane said.

“I’ve been feeling really uncomfortable about the clubs, in particular, over the last few weeks.

“The cases are rising so much, and I hope it won’t have too big an impact on jobs and livelihoods, but I do think it’s the best idea.”

Ms Tuite was undecided and said the curfew was unlikely to have a big impact.

She said: “I don’t think imposing a 12am curfew is going to make much difference.

“What’s the difference in people going home at 12am and 2am?

“I think the healthcare system needs a change and obviously we’re running out of ICU beds, which is a huge issue.

“I think that needs to be more of a priority than sending people home from bars at midnight.”

Further down the road, outside the International Bar, Will Nolan and Sophia Gormley said the Government was showing a degree of naivety by imposing the curfew on licensed premises.

“Nightclubs have changed their times to earlier, so I feel like it’s still going to be the same. Just because the Government change the time doesn’t make any difference to the cases,” Ms Gormley said.

“The Government kind of think that because they’re closing at midnight that it’s going to stop Covid, but I don’t think there’s going to be a major difference,” said Mr Nolan.

“I’m a bit confused why they’re doing it. People will just go out earlier.”

Australian citizens had endured some of the strictest lockdowns, said ex-pat Nils Defossez, who was also socialising outside the International Bar.

“I think the curfew is a good precaution – it’s not the end of the world,” he said. “We can still go out, but it helps mitigate the risk.

“We all need to be sensible. The virus is still around but we’ve still got some freedoms that we can enjoy.”

Trinity College student Karl Scanlan said the curfew was a half-baked measure.

“Covid will already spread by midnight so they should either decide to keep the clubs open or close them entirely,” he said.

“I think it’s a half thing so they can appear to be seen as preventing the spread, but it won’t actually be effective and won’t prevent the spread of Covid.”

Galway native Mark Joyce said: “I can see why it’s happening, but I don’t think a midnight curfew is going to change anything.

“That two hours is probably going to make no difference.

“I’m not against it, but I think they’re grasping at straws.”

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