Northern Ireland

MTV Awards stars party hit by NI licensing laws

Odyssey Pavilion
Image caption MTV Awards organisers had hoped to hold an all-night party in the Pavilion after the ceremony

Organisers of a top music awards ceremony may have to change plans for an after-event party because of Northern Ireland's licensing laws.

Belfast will host the MTV music awards in November with many international rock and pop acts due to attend.

It will be held in the Odyssey arena with plans to hold the all-night party in the nearby Pavilion bars.

However, surprised organisers were told that Belfast bars cannot sell alcohol after midnight on Sunday.

When told the news, the organisers wrote an e-mail to Belfast officials saying: "Shutting the bars... isn't an option and would create enormous problems for the MTV."

This has led to renewed calls by the licensing trade for opening hours in Northern Ireland to be reformed.

The licensing trade said the law should be changed to allow more flexible opening times around major one-off festivals or events.

Belfast City Council and the NI Tourist Board between them are paying more than £500,000 towards staging the event.

One possible compromise being examined is for a private party for the stars to be held in the former Harland and Wolff paint hall elsewhere in the Titanic quarter.