The Swan pub in Dublin city with an 'abandoned by government' poster outside it. Leah Farrell/
Living With Covid

LVA says decision to keep wet pubs in Dublin closed is 'absolutely devastating'

Outside Dublin, wet pubs are set to reopen as planned next Monday.

PUBLICANS AND DRINKS industry groups have hit out at the fact so-called ‘wet pubs’ will remain closed in Dublin.

It emerged last night pubs in the capital that don’t serve food are to remain closed next week, as pubs in the rest of the country open their doors. This was confirmed today when the government announced its six-month plan ‘Living with Covid’.

Outside Dublin, wet pubs are set to reopen as planned next Monday, 21 September.

Due to the high number of Covid-19 cases in Dublin, people in the capital have also been encouraged to limit travel outside the region, and only meet one other household when outside the county.

Donall O’Keeffe, CEO of the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA), the trade association and representative body for publicans in the capital, described the decision not to reopen Dublin’s wet pubs as “absolutely devastating”.

Speaking on RTÉ’s News at One, O’Keeffe called on the government to outline the financial supports it will make available for pubs.

He said publicans are “very concerned, very upset, very angry and very worried about the future” and the association is “running out of words to describe how devastated and disappointing this whole situation is”.

O’Keeffe said all hospitality businesses should be treated equally and face the same restrictions, monitoring and opportunity to trade.

He added that pubs have been closed for 189 days and from their membership, at least 12 pubs have closed for good.

‘Hugely damaging’ 

Drinks Ireland, which represents drinks suppliers, has said pubs in Dublin are being treated “unfairly and disproportionately”.

The industry body is currently running the #OpeningTime campaign, supported by the LVA and the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI), calling for pubs that do not serve food to be allowed to reopen in a safe and sustainable manner.

According to Drinks Ireland, the continued closure of Dublin’s wet pubs is “hugely damaging to the economy”, adding that the hospitality sector is “vital for providing employment opportunities”, particularly for young people.

Patricia Callan, Director of Drinks Ireland, noted that today’s announcement is “the fourth time that pubs in Dublin that do not serve food have been told they could reopen, to then be told, at very short notice, that they no longer can”.

“It is completely disproportionate and unfair for these pubs to be treated as political scapegoats, and differently to the rest of the hospitality sector. Dublin pubs that serve food have reopened, safely.”

Government support

The Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys, today confirmed the government will extend the redundancy provisions relating to temporary lay-off and short-time work – which arose as a result of Covid-19 pandemic – until 3 November.

“I want to acknowledge the impact Covid-19 has had on businesses, many of whom have been forced to close, as well as employees who have been temporarily laid off,” Humphreys said.

“I know many employees who have been laid off are experiencing great uncertainty. It’s important to note that the right to claim redundancy has not been permanently removed.

“Employees who remain on lay-off or short-time work for the requisite period when this emergency measure expires will be entitled to exercise their right to claim redundancy from their employer.”

Humphreys said the government “will continue to listen to all stakeholders as part of our combined efforts aimed at suppressing this virus”.

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