2am Nightclub Voluntary Agreement Statement

23 April 2012

Commenting on the new voluntary agreement that will see nightclubs close at 2am, Colin Neill, chief executive of Pubs of Ulster said:

"Pubs of Ulster has been working closely with our members and the wider licensed trade to seek a solution to some of the issues currently facing the industry, including irresponsible drinks promotions and alleged illegal practices.

"As well as developing a joint industry code of practice on drinks promotions, Pubs of Ulster has also worked with our members to create a new voluntary agreement which will see nightclubs close at 2am. The measure, which came into effect at the weekend, is another way that the industry aims to demonstrate its commitment to responsible practices by doing all in its power to address the issues at hand. The voluntary agreement is also a vital step in showing our ability to self-regulate.

"However, whilst we continue to work on improving the industry from within, we can only do so much within the confines of the current licensing laws in Northern Ireland. It is clear that the current laws need to be modernised to address not only late night opening, but also issues such as opening times at Easter. The first stage in achieving this however is proving that Northern Ireland has an industry that can act responsibly within the current licensing laws. Pubs of Ulster will continue to work with our members to address the issues at hand, whilst also working with the Minister for Social Development Nelson McCausland and Environment Minister Alex Attwood to develop a responsible way forward on licensing laws."