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Banter & Eventbrite Event Talks: Does Dublin Need a Night Mayor?


Tuesday July 12th saw the third in this year’s Event Talk series take place in Wood Quay. Hosted by Banter and Eventbrite, the series focuses on event-related talks and conversations, including festival trends and the science of events. For the third talk the topic was that of Dublin needing a Night Mayor, a topic of debate at SXSW and something many other European cities have brought in. The panel, hosted by Banter’s Jim Carroll, was made up of Richard Guiney (CEO DublinTown, Dublin City’s Business Improvement District), Niall Byrne (Nialler9) and Roisín McVeigh (Cheap TrickFrock Advisor and Totally Dublin).

Over the course of about an hour the panel discussed the possible role of a night mayor, the benefits Dublin would reap from installing/electing such an official, the oft-neglected night economy, the current ghettoized clubbing culture in Dublin, the difficulty of a lack of discourse and/or representation with the City Council, the somewhat unfortunate wording of the title “Night Mayor” and much more. It was a fascinating if short conversation that raised many questions about Dublin by night and the strategy or lack thereof put in place to enable our city to flourish after hours.


Byrne in particular repeatedly stressed the power of “validating the jobs of those who work at night – barmen, dancers, DJs and so on”. He urged Dublin to “be forward thinking” and look at what’s happening world wide, following the progressive lead of the Dutch as opposed to Sydney’s draconian Lock Out Laws. He bemoaned the lack of regulation and management at the moment asking why nobody has looked asked the simple questions like: “What do people need at night time?”. Later, Byrne insisted on the “power of sharing information – talking to each other is the most important”.

Guiney, in his role with DublinTown, spoke about statistics collected in the UK compared to the lack or research here, something he felt was vital for better analysis. He explained how important the night culture in Dublin is to the businesses he works with. Guiney called for better representation for the huge night economy and agreed with Byrne about the importance of having someone in a role with an actual strategy who could “join the dots”.


For McVeigh it was about how the city portrays itself to visitors and to it’s people. She compared us to Berlin, a city “of freedom and an open night life” that attracted liberal minded people. She said that a night mayor “would need to be aware of the political scope and be working in the night culture”.

To this audience member it seemed clear that the main problem is how to broach the topic with politicians and the various stake holders. The room, as pointed out by an audience speaker, was full of people of a certain demographic willing to converse about a relatively young idea. Despite the success of cities of the ilk of Zurich and Amsterdam having pioneered the plan, the prospect of Dublin embracing such a progressive idea appears a pipe dream in the current climate.


Words and photos by Mark Earley