On April 17th, I held a symposium to investigate the possibility of creative nightlife and cultural activity after hours as an alternative and complementary option to Ireland's existing rich night time experience.
My Department has been working with key partners to develop an approach to support a sustainable and forward looking infrastructure to facilitate the development of after hours cultural events.
Firstly, it is my intention to establish pilot projects to identify how a night time culture initiative might work in both urban and rural settings. To this end, my Department will approach a number of local authorities to establish a group comprising representatives from the relevant local authority, local creative nightlife sector, policing, transport and artists/ creative workers. The purpose of this group will be to consider and collate what supports and impediments are currently impacting on opportunities for creative and cultural activity at night, in different settings, and what would be required locally to develop, promote and encourage late night culture.
These groups will also consider the appropriateness of appointing local Night Time Commissioners.
Secondly, in parallel to the structured research initiative, I intend to establish a national forum comprising my Department, the National Transport Authority, the Arts Council and several other Departments with key roles in terms of developing night time infrastructure. This committee will consider matters arising from the operation of the pilot local groups which could require a national policy or legislative response, which would, in turn, be referred to the relevant Department or agency for consideration.
Thirdly, I also intend to engage with local authorities and arts groups with regard to a mapping exercise of existing venues and civic spaces which may be suitable for night time cultural events to identify both gaps and opportunities.