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Vintners say thousands of pubs face defaulting on loans as six-month mortgage moratorium due to end

Pubs were given a six-month moratorium on their mortgages.

Image: PA

THE LICENSED VINTNERS’ Association (LVA) has said thousands of pubs face defaulting on their mortgages if the Government does not step in and offer a better rescue package.

The banks had provided a six-month moratorium to pubs across the country at the beginning of the crisis but that will close at the end of September. 

The LVA, which represents Dublin pubs, said it has discussed this issue with the banks and they have confirmed that these breaks can’t be further extended and that borrowers who cannot make repayments at that point will be in default.

Last week, the Government said it was setting out a €16 million rescue package for pubs across the country. This package has been derided by the LVA.

The association said the majority of closed pubs will receive no more than €1,600 grant aide.

Small pubs in the lowest licensing bracket comprise most of the pubs still closed and they will have been shut by order of the Government for 25 weeks by next Sunday. The figures announced mean they will only be due an extra payment of €64 per week of forced closure, an average which gets smaller for each additional week they are unable to open. 

 “We are massively concerned that the decisions made by the Government and NPHET last week are going to drive thousands of pubs across the country into mortgage default,” said Donall O’Keeffe, Chief Executive of the LVA.

“Firstly the Government and NPHET has once again stopped these pubs from opening their doors, so they have no income coming into the business. On top of that, they announced a paltry, token gesture of a package which offers next to no support to these businesses.”

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O’Keeffe added that the mortgage payment breaks provided by the main banks have been an “invaluable support to pubs across Ireland, especially the majority of pubs who are still closed”.

Those came into effect in late March when the pubs were the first sector to close across the country. That six-month payment break will close at the end of this month and the banks have informed us that further breaks can’t be provided. 

 “The so-called ‘package’ announced by the Government was nothing more than a hollow gesture. It was spin pure and simple, but it exposed how little they care about protecting the pub sector in this country. In reality, only a fraction of the ‘package’ will consist of grant aid for the pubs still closed, ” O’Keeffe added.

Basically, every action the Government is taking at the moment is driving the pub industry in this country into the ground. They have given the industry next to no support and possibly even worse they have also taken away all hope for the pubs still closed, the 25,000 members of staff they employ and all their families.

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