The recession, lifestyle change, drink-driving and the smoking ban are likely to have played their part in this but more closures are expected as licence renwals requiring Tax Clearance Certificates last month are delayed or abandoned altogether.
The new 50mg drink-driving limit is unlikely to help matters and any increase on tax on alcohol in the forthcoming Budget is likely to adversely affect even more pubs which are already suffering the effects of Government cuts to consumer spend.
The number of pub licences in this country stands at 7,509 as of October, according to the RCs (with 107 licences not being renewed). This figure is considerably down on the 2005 figure of 8,617.
On the other hand, off-licences has increased by over 10 per cent during this period from 2,966 to 3,308 (with 60 off-licences not being renewed as of October).
Dublin’s pub licence population has reduced slightly from 786 to 761, but its off-licence population has risen 14.6 per cent from 719 to 824. The Revenue Commissioners point out that more pubs have opened in Dublin since 2010 with the figures indicating that 13 new pub licences have been introduced to Dublin since last year while the number of off-licences has dropped by 10 to 824.
The Revenue Commissioners stress that these licence figures can also include licences that have been renewed but are effectively ‘in-pocket’ licences and do not accurately reflect the number of pubs or off-licences in operation at the present time.