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Ireland's dirtiest restaurants and takeaways: Here's where they are

Some counties have a far worse record than others.

shutterstock_519484897 Shutterstock / Kondor83 Shutterstock / Kondor83 / Kondor83

SOME COUNTIES ARE far more culpable than others when it comes to their food businesses’ approach to public health.

Figures obtained by under freedom of information legislation detail the counties with businesses which were closed due to breaches of food safety legislation in 2016.

The range of offences (which, along with the culprits, will be detailed tomorrow morning on for which closures are ordered are in almost all cases hygiene-related, and vary in severity.

The most common offences relate to issues of cleanliness (“in a filthy condition” being perhaps the most oft-used phrase used in the closure orders), HACCP procedures (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point, which broadly relates to food safety), pest control, and equipment being unfit for purpose.

Overall, 61 businesses (one of which was closed twice) were served with 62 orders over the course of the year.

As you might imagine, given the disproportionate population situated in the capital, Dublin had the greatest number of closures with 21.

What you might not expect is the identity of the second worst offender – Roscommon. The county with the 22nd largest population in the Republic of Ireland has the second highest number of closures with seven.

20170309_Restaurant_Closures (1) Chart: Statista Chart: Statista

Click here to view a larger image

Meanwhile, the country’s second-most populous county, Cork, comes in third place with six closures.

The businesses closed upon inspection are split almost exactly 50:50 between restaurants and takeaways. The full list for 2016 is as follows:

  1. Dublin – 21
  2. Roscommon - 7
  3. Cork - 6
  4. Limerick - 4
  5. Wexford - 4
  6. Laois - 3
  7. Cavan - 2
  8. Clare - 2
  9. Galway - 2
  10. Meath - 2
  11. Waterford - 2
  12. Donegal - 1
  13. Kerry - 1
  14. Louth - 1
  15. Mayo - 1
  16. Offaly - 1
  17. Tipperary - 1
  18. Wicklow - 1

But if you want an indication of how serious it is to receive such an order, bear in mind that only 62 premises were closed last year. And in 2015 the HSE (which holds the contract from the Food Safety Authority of Ireland for inspecting public-facing businesses like restaurants) inspected 36,353 businesses.

All told 92% of registered businesses (and not all are registered) get seen, either by rota or following a valid complaint (such complaints, per the FSAI itself, include cigarette butts being found in chip bags, a human nail in a takeaway meal, and a live insect being found in a packaged dessert).

Taking that figure as a rough proxy, less than 1% of such concerns are closed upon inspection. So a closure is far from the norm.

Orders lifted

Generally speaking a business has a clear idea of what it must do with regard to getting its closure order lifted. In the case of two Dublin restaurants the order was in fact lifted on the same day it was applied.

Again, this is far from the norm.

The average amount of time for a closure to be lifted in Ireland in 2016 was 9.75 days. Waterford has the worst record for multiple businesses from that point of view, two closures taking an average of 16.5 days before being deemed up to scratch.

Screenshot 2017-03-11 at 17.57.59

Dublin, Roscommon, and Cork businesses meanwhile averaged 14.3, 10.7 and 3.7 days in order to bring their premises up to standard. Dublin, is however slightly skewed by the performance of one Temple Bar eatery which took over seven months (224 days) to get its closure order lifted.

Mayo (one closure order that took 25 days to lift) has the worst record, albeit from a single sample. Wexford restaurants, by contrast, took an average of nine days for four businesses to be declared clear.

Four businesses, two in Cork and one each in Dublin and Meath, failed entirely to get the order closing their premises lifted. In the case of the Meath business, the inspector in question found that “no effort had been made to comply with a previous inspection carried out in 2015″.

A Co Laois Chinese takeaway was the only business to be closed twice, within two months, during 2016.

Check out’s roundup of the worst offences committed against food safety in Irish restaurants tomorrow morning

Read: Pizza and Mexican restaurants among food outlets served with closure orders last month

Read: Last year saw the highest number of food alerts issued in a decade

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