With around 4,000 and 600 members respectively, the two bodies have agreed to engage in discussions that may well lead to the creation of a new representative body.
The Councils of the two bodies have separately mandated these discussions on foot of independent strategic reviews of both organisations which took place over recent months. Both reviews separately concluded that while the respective organisations were in good health financially and enjoyed robust support amongst their members, there were strong arguments in favour of creating a unified, national representative organisation for the licensed trade in Ireland.
On foot of these reports, the Councils of the two bodies have directed that representatives from both organisations should meet to explore this possibility in greater detail and to assess its feasibility.
If, in due course, the two Councils each believe the concept has merit, then it will be put to separate votes of the membership of the two organisations. It’s expected that these votes would not take place before this time next year.
In a joint statement today, LVA Chief Executive Dónall O’Keeffe and VFI Chief Executive Padraig Cribben stated, “We’ve decided that the creation of a new single organisation deserves careful and detailed examination but nothing more at this juncture.
“The LVA and VFI have a great deal in common and have worked closely on various issues over recent years. We must now decide whether or not a new organisation would assist us to better represent the interests of our members across the country and enhance the position of the licensed trade which plays such an important role in our local and national economies.”
If such a rationalisation were to take place, it would be a return to the one vintners’ body which began representing the interests of publicans around the country many years ago.