Opinion

Long Night’s Journey into Day

We can all say, without any shadow of a doubt, that these last 12 months have been the darkest in the history of the licensed trade.

 

Many local institutions will never reopen following the necessary precautionary measures taken to protect our communities from this pandemic.

In many cases much, if not all, the available capital for reinvestment in pubs has been removed or re-routed as vintners eke out dwindling savings to meet their costs while completely closed.

It’s true, too, that the hospitality industry has been badly served by a government that doesn’t seem to have much regard for it, offering  little by way of a reopening roadmap.

Time and time again, it abandoned the licensed trade to an ill-informed litany of openings and closings. Over-cautious, it failed to inform us what was going on when it came to offering rays of hope.

For there now seems little doubt that vaccination offers the only solution to get us out of this Lockdown cycle.

The government, over-cautious in its approach to hospitality – the most over-cautious in Europe – is now failing to address the vaccine vacuum by purchasing on the world market.

But that caution was notably lacking when, with spectacularly poor timing, it put TDs’ already obscene salaries over the six-figure bar in stark contrast to those currently investing their life savings in trying to keep their more modest pub business afloat.

“I’m an optimist,” said a beleaguered Winston Churchill once, “It does not seem too much use being anything else.”

And as many of our publicans reveal in our Main Story in the Spring issue of Drinks Industry Ireland magazine, they’re nothing if not optimists.

Many believe that the end is in sight. It’s just a question of hanging on in there a bit longer.

For while we might look enviably to our nearest neighbour, an optimist might regard the UK’s reopening, beginning next week, as a useful bellwether as to how we might fare when hospitality eventually reopens somewhat later here.

And we just might learn from the mistakes made initially by our neighbouring island which can only speed our long night’s journey into day.

Pat Nolan, editor, Drinks Industry Ireland magazine

Pat Nolan, editor, Drinks Industry Ireland magazine

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