A BACKLASH from students and a rise in off-licence drinking has forced the closure of the popular 'Lodge' nightclub at the Kilmurry Lodge Hotel.
The venue has been described as akin to a 'second home' for University of Limerick students over the last 15 years.
The nightclub closed Thursday night, February 10, with management citing "a serious trend towards off-licence sales" and a decrease in revenues "as our customers were arriving from house parties and no longer spending in the club".
Wayne Neilon, general manager of the Kilmurry Lodge, said that "the Lodge nightclub has been losing money for the previous two years and is no longer a viable entity for the hotel to continue to subsidise".
However, the Leader understands that a recent decision to increase the entry price to the nightclub from €5 to €7, and the removal of free entry for students on certain nights, has led to a backlash against the nightclub, with students boycotting the venue in recent weeks.
A statement on the nightclub's Facebook page alluded to this. "We understand your reluctance to accept these increases but without them we do not have a viable business and The Lodge as a student venue now appears to have reached its' conclusion," read the statement.
UL Student's Union President Ruan Dillon McLoughlin said: "The Lodge was very quiet over the last two weeks because they put up their prices, and also reduced free entry to students".
"Students felt that they weren't able to afford this and it wasn't an acceptable increase. They voiced their opinions to the Lodge on their Facebook page and they told them they weren't happy. That was last week and this week they have told us that it will be closing," he added.
The Leader understands that a letter was sent to nightclub staff - thought to number approximately 20 between full and part time staff - on February 9, advising them of the situation.
Mr Neilon said that it was "with regret and disappointment that the decision to close the club was taken.