The #NotDisposable social media campaign will see hundreds of pubs and individuals posting pre-pandemic photos of those working in these sectors.
Pubs and others participating in the campaign across the country have been encouraged to post their photos to social media throughout the day today, a date marking exactly a year since the pubs closed.
First to shut
Pubs were the first sector of the economy to shut their doors at the outset of the pandemic, responding to the Government’s instructions for the good of public health.
Since then approximately 250 traditional Dublin pubs have not opened for a single day while the majority of pubs in the country were only able to trade for a brief period of two weeks late in September.
Last month, the VFI and the LVA pointed out that as the pub sector approached the one-year anniversary since it closed there remained a complete lack of clarity from Government about how the hospitality sector will restart and that this was a major flaw in its Resilience and Recovery 2021 plan which would only prolong the anxiety and uncertainty for publicans, their families and staff.
The LVA and the VFI hope that today’s campaign will remind the public that there are a lot of people who depend on pubs and hospitality, the arts and entertainment and that the future of these sectors does matter to Irish society.
The campaign arose following heartfelt remarks made by Rory O’Neill aka Panti, which resonated with many working in the sector and echoed their experience over the last year.
“I’m struggling at this stage,” he said, speaking on Virgin Media’s Six O’Clock Show on Tuesday 16th February, “It’s been a year now and I’m just banging my head off the wall, ‘cos there’s no real end in sight for us.
“I read this thing I can’t get out of my head: 70% of the population have saved money during the pandemic and I was like ‘I live in a parallel universe’ because everybody I know who works in the entertainment industry or the bar or hospitality – we’ve all lost everything.
“So I spend all my days arguing with the bank over mortgage payments or whatever because everything just ended. It turns out that our industry is utterly disposable. I think the experience of the pandemic has been very different for different sections of the population.”
VFI Chief Executive Padraig Cribben explained, “Rory O’Neill really captured the mood of our industry and of people throughout hospitality, arts and entertainment when he spoke of how we’ve been made to feel like we are disposable.
“Before the pandemic approximately 50,000 people were directly employed in 7,000 pubs across Ireland.
“Thousands more were employed by suppliers, worked as entertainers, as musicians, as DJs, as security and in other roles. When you also consider the rest of the hospitality, arts and entertainment sectors, you’re talking about hundreds of thousands of people who’ve been impacted. We want to show the important role all these people play and of what they brought to our day-to-day experiences pre-pandemic.”
The truth is that pubs and the rest of these sectors have been vital pillars of our society, of the economy and of Irish life, added LVA Chief Executive Donall O’Keeffe, “When all this began no one could have anticipated how much of an impact the pandemic would have on these sectors,” he stated, “No one could have expected that one year on we’d still be in the dark as to when we might be able to get back to work. We want to remind the public of the people behind these sectors, to remind them of the contribution made by these people and why that matters.
“We hope the public will see this campaign and be reminded of what they have to look forward to when the time comes to safely reopen again.
“We want to take Rory’s heartfelt words and turn them into a rallying call, showing why these sectors and the people behind them are #NotDisposable,” he concluded.