Could Northern Ireland’s nightclubs be about to mount a legal challenge on Stormont to force a reopening? Rumours abound of solicitors getting ready to act…

I’m hearing some interesting rumours emanating from Belfast this weekend. Word is that a couple of different companies are threatening to mount legal challenges against the Northern Ireland Executive over their continous failure to still provide a date they can reopen.

The situation in Northern Ireland is different to the rest of the UK. England’s nightclubs reopened on July 19th, whereas Wales and Scotland reopened theirs on August 7th and 9th respectively. And in a development noted in the province, the Republic of Ireland announced last week they’re hoping nightclubs can resume on October 22nd.

I understand at least one of the companies in question is based in Great Britain, but owns a venue in Northern Ireland – and I also gather one of the reasons for potential legal action is the forthcoming end to the furlough scheme. In the Republic, the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme ends on December 31st – the UK’s furlough scheme ends on September 30th.

This would effectively mean several clubs in the province would disappear almost overnight. No wonder the solicitors are awaiting further instructions from their clients…