Opinion

Lobbying time

In this month’s issue we hear from the new President of the VFI Noreen O’Sullivan that since pubs provide 50,000 jobs they should not be taken so lightly by Government.

Just how significant the drinks industry’s contribution to the overall economy has been, is acutely highlighted in a new DIGI report from DCU’s Tony Foley which accompanied the launch of the DIGI’s ‘Support Your Local’ campaign recently.


Drinks-related employment in Dáil constituencies 2013
outlines some of the more salient facts for economic consumption and local digestion.

It points out, for example, that approximately 92,000 jobs are associated with the drinks industry which purchased €1 billion-worth of local goods and services.

Brewers and distillers together bought up some €637 million-worth of domestic input. The spin-off effects on indirect employment mean that these purchases represent another 11,600 jobs – but perhaps the drip, drip steady trickle of job losses over the last few years here – rather than one big redundancy headline – belies their notability in terms of the more short-term media sexiness of a ‘company to close with 500 job losses’ kind of headline.

While some 63,000 are employed directly in our pubs, bars, distributors, breweries and distilleries, beverage manufacture suffered a cut in employment of nearly 40% to just 3,800 over the last 14 years.

The industry also paid a wage bill of just under €1 billion in 2011 but this year’s figure is likely to be considerably down on that – estimated at around €885 million thanks to the relentless pressure on to shed jobs – a significant part of it due to Government employment policy or lack of it.

Tony Foley’s report points out that for every direct job there’s 0.46 of another job dependent on it.

But undoubtedly it’s the pubs that have suffered the most in terms of employment fall-off, trailing down from 54,000 jobs in 2009 to just 51,000 in 2011 and this figure is unlikely to sustain through to the present. Off-licences constitute the next biggest source of employment in the industry after the on-trade.

That any government can continue to ignore such an industry must speak volumes as we run up to the EU and local elections.
But wait, what’s this? “It’s interesting to note what’s lost at local level in light of the national statistics,” comments Tony Foley in this detailed constituency by constituency document – available online. Has there been a better time to find the section dealing with your own constituency and get busy on the phone to your local councillors and TDs?

Sign up for Drinks Industry Ireland

Get a free weekly update on Drinks Industry trade news, direct to your inbox. Sign up now, it's Free