A new approach to Limerick’s evening economy.

Taking a new approach to managing our evening economy

Recent discussions around how Limerick’s evening economy operates have given us plenty of food for thought. The suggestion by Failte Ireland’s Michael Cawley in relation to Limerick embracing the Stag market was met with widespread distain.

We were then treated to a series of videos published on social media showing the results of college students being evicted from our nightclub district at the same time.

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Mirik Milan, Night Mayor of Amsterdam

The city rightly takes pride in the night-time river patrols that voluntarily take place along our quays particularly on busy nights during the week.

A recent article also made reference to Limerick applying for the Purple Flag, an initiative not unlike the blue flags seen on beaches but aimed at the night-time economy of a city.

All of the above discussions are welcome and thankfully suggest that we are now placing a value on our city’s evening economy.

I hear a lot of people talk about how Limerick city is dead at night. Yet I also hear of the impossibility of getting bookings in restaurants, the fact that new venues, pubs, cafes and restaurants are popping up all over the place.

Either the city is full of idiotic business people, or there is something happening.

I believe the traditional stag ‘piss-up’ is perhaps slowly evolving into a more mature experiential event. Surely Limerick city can offer an experience to beat many other cities in the country for such weekend breaks and I suggest we might be foolish to reject the suggestion completely?

Perhaps a branded package of stag weekends with specific focus on our river activities, our outdoor amenities, our food AND our hospitality venues could be a start.

Or maybe we don’t need the money?

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Amsterdam Night Mayor in action.

On a similar note I’ve been interested to read lately of the success seen in Amsterdam after the introduction of a ‘Night Mayor’ concept.

In 2014, after a public vote by local businesses with a vested evening economy interest, the city elected Mirik Milan, a former club promoter, as the official Night Mayor of Amsterdam.

He has been a keen promoter of the idea of 24-hour districts moving away from the traditional ‘curfew’ mentality that tends to be the preference of local government.

Mirik Milan is particularly interested in the development of ‘special districts’ for after-dark businesses where cities could balance many local desires for a lively night life with the wishes of others for peace and quiet.

Imagine Limerick was to be the first city to pilot a staggered closing time or later opening hours tied in with a series of other test initiatives. As we embrace our new-found confidence we are likely to see a major increase in demand for our evening economy offering (whatever form that takes).

It would be far more beneficial for us as a city to start planning today for this new phase in our city’s evening offering. Handing out free slippers to girls at 3am or providing pop up Garda booths will only go so far. We need a well-planned, thorough and widely engaged programme to be developed along the lines of what has been seen in Amsterdam.

Most important it must be noted that those leading such an initiative are not elected officials or career civil servants – they are those who have spent years in the minefield of after dark activities.

More from Nigel in Global Limerick under his byline or at www.nigeldugdale.ie

 

 

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