The ‘Night-time Economy’ taskforce has published recommendations relating to how the night-time economy can recover from the affects of Covid-19 induced recession. Included in their recommendations is the creation of a pilot project in Cork city to promote the night-time food scene in the city.

The taskforce included members from several departments within the government, the lord mayors of Cork and Dublin, as well as members from the National Transport Authority, an Garda Síochána and Fáilte Ireland. The consultation process included engagement with over 100 stakeholders from community organisations, business and industry, civic society, the cultural sector and sporting organisations and resulted in a total of 58 official submissions.

Among the recommendations was the creation of a new pilot project in Cork City to encourage and support the night-time food scene. The night-time economy has been hard hit from the recession and restrictions imposed due to the Covid19 recession so such a project would be well received in the city.
The opportunity to create a more vibrant food scene as part of the Night-Time Economy was raised during the consultation process and the Taskforce took the view that these opportunities should be explored further with all relevant stakeholders. This would entail the development of a coherent food activation plan that maximises local assets and local produce. It is suggested that this could be developed and trialled in a specific location and then rolled out to other locations if it proves successful. Cork City was suggested as the location for the proposed pilot project to be undertaken as the city has a vibrant and growing food scene with locations such as the English Market and other parts of the city offering potential opportunities for the development of new food initiatives as part of the Night-Time Economy. The Taskforce recommended that a pilot project be established in Cork City with a view to sharing the learning with other local authorities and possibly rolling out further similar initiatives nationwide.

The recommendations of the report ere welcomed by Green Party Councillor Oliver Moran:
“Musicians, venues and other night culture workers have been particularly affected by COVID-19 restrictions. Before the crisis, Cork was already a Purple Flag city, the international award for excellence in the night time economy.
“The transformation of places like Prince’s Street shows the solidarity between businesses in the night-time economy and a willingness from the city to innovate to support the businesses in the area. We will need to prepare now so that places like Oliver Plunkett Street and MacCurtain Street, that offer a night-time culture experience unique to Cork, are ready to bounce back when restrictions are fully lifted.
“As well as that, I think we need to review and revise the current licensing legislation to facilitate late night openings for bars and venues across the country to enhance and revitalise our night time culture and economy. We should also develop multipurpose accessible venues nationwide to accommodate both daytime and night-time cultural and creative activities.”

Catherine Martin TD, Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media also supported the recommendations from the report:
“Night-time culture sees creativity burst into life in towns and cities. It is where we dance, sing, play music but also where audiences come together and sustain local economies and livelihoods. All that was put on pause during COVID-19. This new report looks at ways to reignite the Night-Time Economy and culture, especially so given the devastating effects of the pandemic on live and arts events. Improving night-time life for audiences, venues and performers will help our recovery. But there is an opportunity to enrich our night-time life with new options, positioning us alongside other countries where a myriad of offerings await patrons after dark”