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TJ MacInerney, of T.J Mac’s pub in Mullinahone, Co Tipperary, as publicans from rural Ireland protest against the 6 month closure of their businesses, and against proposed legislation to keep a record of meals ordered by their customers.
TJ MacInerney, of T.J Mac’s pub in Mullinahone, Co Tipperary, as publicans from rural Ireland protest against the 6 month closure of their businesses, and against proposed legislation to keep a record of meals ordered by their customers.
Image: Leah Farrell via RollingNews.ie

'Families have suffered enough': Emotional scenes outside the Dáil as publicans demand 'fair play'

The pubs have been given the green light to reopen on 21 September.
Sep 8th 2020, 1:19 PM 20,852 34

PUBLICANS GATHERED OUTSIDE the Dáil today demanding “fair play” for pub owners across the country whose businesses have been closed for nearly six months.

TJ MacInerney, of TJ Mac’s pub in Mullinahone, Tipperary, broke down in tears outside the Dáil as he asked Micheál Martin to introduce some “fair play” for the responsible publicans whose businesses have been destroyed by the pandemic. 

He said he’s a responsible publican who can guarantee social distancing and added that he wanted to have people coming back into Mullinahone after such a traumatic six months. 

“I’m a responsible publican. I’m a reputable publican. To reopen in the village, it means everything,” he said. 

MacInerney added that he wants to be able to see the pubs and the GAA return to Irish life. 

“We’re hurting badly. We need fair play and a suite of solutions is what I’m going to present to Micheál Martin. We want to be viable in the future and make tax returns.”

It emerged this morning that pubs have been given the green light to re-open from 21 September following a meeting of Cabinet this morning. 

The plan to reopen pubs is subject to local restrictions, which may be implemented in areas with high incidences of Covid-19. 

The decision comes after a concerning rise in cases in Dublin and Limerick. 

The two representative bodies for pubs across Ireland welcomed the announcement.

The Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) and the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) said the non-food pubs will have been closed for 189 days – more than 6 months – by the time they get to reopen.

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Currently, 3,500 pubs across the country remain closed, impacting approximately 25,000 employees as well as their families.

It was also noted that the Government was likely to force thousands of these pubs into defaulting their mortgage should they have not been allowed to reopen, with the six-month moratorium due to close at the end of September.  

Speaking about the announcement, LVA Chief Executive Donall O’Keeffe said: “It’s about time this decision was made. We feel there was little justification for the Government to have repeatedly delayed the reopening. If all pubs are following social distancing then they should all have had the opportunity to get their doors open long before now.

“The vast majority of pubs have acted incredibly responsibly during this crisis and the pubs still closed have taken a real hit for the good of public health. It is about time that this contribution was acknowledged by the Government. We look forward to raising a glass once these pubs do get to open their doors again after six long months.”

With reporting by Christina Finn

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Garreth MacNamee

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