Gabhaim buíochas leis an gCathaoirleach. Tá áthas orm a bheith anseo chun déileáil leis an ábhar tábhachtach seo. Like any city official I have two roles, one is developmental, the other statutory. While we want to encourage everything that people want to do in the city, culturally, artistically and economically, we have to be guided by our statutory responsibilities and that tension will recur in the presentation. The Minister of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Deputy Madigan, convened a workshop of stakeholders to examine the area of the night-time economy. Representatives of the arts office and economic development sections represented Dublin City Council. We have stayed in touch with the relevant Government officials on this matter.
As the first impressive presentations mentioned, the night-time economy refers to social, cultural and economic activity occurring between specified night-time hours. For example, in London this is between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., the broadest definition of any city we have studied so far. We need to start by understanding Dublin's economy at night and replacing myths and perceptions of night time in the city. A tremendous amount of the things we have to deal with on the council are anecdotal rather than evidence-based and that is probably the theme of what we will say today. We want to replace those anecdotal perceptions with evidence of how Dubliners and visitors use the city at night. This would highlight the opportunities and indeed the threats or pitfalls involved in further developing a night-time economy. However, at present there is little in the way of research or information on Dublin in this area. What we can do is look to the experience of other cities, and in particular London where the Independent Night Time Commission has carried out extensive research, for some insights.
The Mayor of London appointed the independent Night Time Commission, NTC, in October 2017 to provide advice to the Mayor, support their night-time tsar in dealing with London's night-time economy, and ultimately help realise a vision of the city as a 24-hour city. It has commissioned extensive quantitative and qualitative research to gather a strong evidence base to inform its work. One of the things it found is that partnership with local authorities, businesses and residents is crucial to creating a successful night-time culture which benefits residents, businesses and visitors. What is being sought by various stakeholders is an innovation in the work of the city. This is going to require a balanced navigation by the officials, interagency, national and local, with residents, taxpayers and ratepayers
Research estimates that a third of all workers in London work evenings and nights, including health professionals, emergency services, office workers, technicians and drivers. This rises to 50% of all workers in the cultural and hospitality sectors. However, London research found that many of the workers in the night-time economy are low paid. As of quarter 2 2019, Dublin had a total of 717,000 workers, 56,000 of whom were employed in accommodation and food services activities. If we were to extrapolate London's experience, and this would be a very rough guide, this implies that about a quarter of a million people work in Dublin between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., with about 10% of these employed in hospitality. To establish these numbers for Dublin further research would need to be carried out.
We also know that average hourly wages in the accommodation and food service and the arts and entertainment sectors are lower than the overall average. Hospitality workers earn around 56% of average hourly earnings while culture workers earn about 80%. As in London, evidence shows that the existing night-time economy in Dublin is concentrated in the lower-paid sectors. That is an important social point.
In terms of transport, night tubes, trains and buses, there is very little available in Dublin at that time. This has been well described in earlier presentations. There are limited public transport options for those enjoying and-or working in the city at night who are reliant on own transport or taxis. Little is known about the levels of demand for being active at night in Dublin and indeed, what the barriers are to enjoying a night out in the city. Are they cost, lack of choice, early closing hours or lack of venue? Without information on the demand-side dynamics, formulating policy or strategy is hampered. We are now in the area of formulating policy which is a long and painstaking process. Getting a very quick fix could produce a lot of unintended consequences, no matter how much good will is involved. On the supply side, the most documented issues facing venue operators are primarily related to licensing restrictions. There are many other challenges from a city's point of view, limitations in the transport, safety concerns and night working conditions all require careful consideration by a wide range of stakeholders.
From the arts office point of view, and for me as city arts officer, it would appear that audiences at cultural events ending at 10.30 p.m. and particularly visitors to Dublin have very few options after 11 p.m. This provides many opportunities for the arts community to extend their activities beyond 11 p.m. that could be beneficial to audiences and businesses alike, subject to economic viability. In addition, much like during the day, where there are clusters of cultural venues, there could be opportunities for retail. We might pause and reflect on the relationship between venue availability and night-time culture and day-time culture. I receive phone calls and emails daily dealing with the absence of cultural venues or the demand for them in Dublin. Just as the housing crisis took ten years to develop, the cultural venue crisis has taken just as long and probably will take half or just as long to remedy. This cannot be fixed in a short period. We will have to build venues and transfer certain unused buildings into cultural use. We cannot, for example in the case of the Tivoli, interfere with the rights of a private property owner and cut across their ability to sell their venue. That is a very difficult thing for government to do, given our laws.
A recent Your Dublin Your Voice survey carried out by Dublin City Council found that the George's Street vicinity had risen in popularity to become the second most popular shopping district, albeit during the day, due to its vibrant mixed offering of retail and entertainment. However, that same survey identified in open questions that the two most important factors when it came to shopping were range and value. Longer opening hours did not feature either as an influencing factor or as suggested improvement. Dublin City Council will carry out a further Your Dublin Your Voice survey to gather more information to gauge appetite and interest in the night-time economy
Research from earlier this year, again from London's Night Time Commission, found that making the most of underused spaces with exhibitions, live performance and pop-up markets could boost the high street. Indeed, we have seen the success of Culture Night, which is part of my office's responsibility but that is an annual programme of free events and so not directly comparable to opening night-time venues. It must be stressed that this is a new area of policy and expertise where Dublin City Council is in a learning mode. I recently attended, with my colleague, Mary McSweeney, the world cities culture summit, which was organised by the World Cities Culture Forum, where 38 cities shared learning on all aspects of culture. There was a long session on the night-time economy. Several cities, notably London, but particularly Sydney, have been engaged in the development of the night-time economy for several years and they set out the priorities involved and the challenges they faced. As a first step in informing Dublin City Council, I have written to the cultural agencies I met at the conference seeking papers or research they engaged in.
In recognition of the potential of the night-time economy, the chief executive of Dublin City Council, Owen Keegan, received a request from Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Deputy Madigan, to set up a local committee for the consideration of night-time culture in Dublin City by 29 November. The night-time economy was discussed at length by the city council at a special meeting on 23 September. Based on London's experience, where an extensive period of research preceded the establishment of a stakeholder group, Dublin City Council decided that it was not possible to set up the committee within the timeframe suggested. It would be our preference to adopt a similar model commencing with research that should be carried out by relevant sectors and stakeholders in Dublin before setting up a committee.