A second mayoralty should be created for Galway city - a Night Mayor - whose role would be to “promote the exciting life after dark that already exists in Galway”, as well as “develop new cultural additions”.
This is the view of Social Democrats Galway City East councillor Owen Hanley, who said Galway should follow Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, and Zurich in appointing a Night Mayor. The role involves the mayor liaising between venue owners and the authorities. In Amsterdam, the night mayor is an intermediary between the mayor, the local authority, business, and residents.
Cllr Hanley said Galway is ideally positioned to have a Night Mayor as part of its local authority and cultural infrastructure. “In Galway we are renowned for unique festivals, markets, and cultural features,” he said. “Galway is known for its craic and the city council should provide the spaces for enjoyment, sociability, and creativity that are an essential part of a living town or city. A quality nightlife is a key part peoples leisure time.”
However, Cllr Hanley noted that while Galway has an “exciting life after dark”, there are issues of real concern, but ones that a Night Mayor could be instrumental in dealing with. He pointed out that “Shop Street has a reputation for being abandoned by sober people” on weekend nights.
“A Night Mayor would be able to address concerns of businesses and industry groups who have lobbied for changes to better the positive impacts of our nightlife,” he said.
Cllr Hanley said a Night Mayor could lead an “ambitious strategy” for Galway’s nightlife which embraces the “unique aspects of Galway”, invests in new cultural spaces, and embraces they city’s existing night-time industries. “Too often there’s little overlap between the demographic which sustains urban nightlife and those who regulate it,” he noted.
The question now is whether City Hall officials would support such a proposal; if it would receive the backing of other councillors; and if Cllr Hanely, as proposer of the idea, would be interested in being Galway’s first Night Mayor.