Pubs remain among the very last sector to be permitted to re-open and according to the industry this is unfair to one of Ireland’s strongest domestic sectors as publicans across the country have invested heavily in their businesses and are prepared to re-open in line with public health guidelines.
Now, there’s growing fear among publicans that their businesses will remain closed until 2021 meaning that jobs will be lost and publicans, who represent thousands of family businesses across the country, will not be in a position to continue to support the closure of their business and their families.
At this stage, some may never re-open believes DIGI.
Ireland’s drinks industry directly employs more than 90,000 people and indirectly, through supporting businesses, upwards of 175,000 – the majority in rural Ireland.
Despite the clear contributions to the country’s economy and society, Ireland’s drinks and hospitality industry has received no industry-specific Government support and there has been no clear indication that any will be immediately forthcoming.
DIGI, which represents over 14,000 drinks and hospitality businesses, has called for a dedicated and immediate support package for drinks and hospitality business owners and their staff and a 15% reduction in excise tax on alcohol in Budget 2021.
“Given the current situation, the industry cannot be subject to the second highest excise tax in the EU,” it stated, “A situation where pubs re-open with exceptionally high tax cannot happen”.
With Ireland’s pubs and bars now enduring the longest lockdown of any in the EU, Rosemary Garth, Chair of the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland and Director of Communications and Corporate Affairs at Irish Distillers, believes that, “Any further lockdown will be the difference in pubs re-opening or not in the long term. Irish pubs are generally small businesses with modest revenues.
“Ninety per cent of pubs are located outside of Dublin. Irish pubs have endured the longest lockdown in the EU, losing half a year of business. The Government has so far failed to provide them with any kind of reassurance, certainty, or long-term support.”