'Dublin has become a vacuous void' - Bar operator says capital needs help

Ian Redmond was speaking as the capital gears up for Dublin by Night Fest this evening
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

11.09 2 Nov 2023

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'Dublin has become a vacuous v...

'Dublin has become a vacuous void' - Bar operator says capital needs help

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

11.09 2 Nov 2023

Share this article

Dublin city centre has become a 'vacuous void' and a lot of things need to change if we are to encourage people to come back into town.

That is according to Ian Redmond, who operates Hyde Bar off Grafton Street and Ohana Tiki Bar on Harcourt Street.

He was speaking as the capital gears up for Dublin by Night Fest this evening.


Organisers say the aim is to bring the city 'alive after 5' with music, arts and culture, food and shopping through a night market.

Mr Redmond told Newstalk Breakfast that while Dublin needs events like this, the city needs so much more to survive.

"Dublin needs an impetus, it's really, really suffering over the last few years with lack of investment in public order, transport and there's many other issue around Dublin city at the moment," he said.

"Anything that can be done for the benefit of the city is a good thing.

"We need to get people back into the city".

Doughnut effect

Mr Redmond said the city is suffering what has become known as a doughnut effect.

"There's not enough people living in the city [which] is one of the key problems," he said.

"Dublin is experiencing what's happening in many US cities, which is being coined the doughnut effect.

"The centre of the city is just a void and the suburban towns around it are doing really well, like Ranelagh, Rathfarnham, Terenure, Rathgar, Clontarf.

"Dublin to me it's just become a vacuous void at the moment, so anything that can be done is good."

'Sick of walking home'

Mr Redmond said there are several barriers stopping people from coming back into the city.

"There's public order issues, there's lack of funding for the Gardaí, there's a transport issue, people can't get home," he said.

"They're sick of walking home from town, it's dangerous, they cannot get taxis.

"Taxi drivers are turning off their apps so they don't have to pay 15% commission and they're just picking people off the street that they're not threatened by.

"So, by-and-large, one or two girls can get taxis, a guy on his own or two guys or three guys cannot get taxis.

"I've spoken to taxi drivers about it and they're not taking the risk of picking them up.

"They're not using the apps after 11pm because there's too much alcohol onboard, and cocaine is a huge issue as well.

"Taxi drivers can spot them a mile away, people are off their head, so they just don't want to take the chance."

Spending and inflation

Mr Redmond said insurance is a "huge issue" for business operators, and spending is also a big factor.

"Costs are up roughly 40% pre and post-COVID, and spend is down roughly 40%," he said.

"The people don't have the money in their pocket that they had pre-COVID or during COVID.

"Dublin as well it's dirty, it's not being cleaned by the Council, it is filthy".

Mr Redmond said previously promised licencing reforms need to happen now.

"Licencing reform needs to be tackled, it's over 100 years old," he said.

"We've been promised for the last three years that it's going to be reform, reform, reform.

"[Justice Minister] Helen McEntee's hands are tied but we do need reform on licencing as well," he added.

Main image: Dublin city centre is seen on New Year's Eve 2022. Image: Sam Boal /

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Clontarf Doughnut Effect Dublin By Night Fest Dublin City Dublin City Centre Hyde Bar Ian Redmond Licencing Reform Newstalk Breakfast Ohana Tiki Bar Public Order Public Transport Ranelagh Rathfarnham Rathgar Taxis Terenure Vacuous Void

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