Industry group says 56% of Irish pubs are still closed

Almost two thirds of Irish consumers are concerned about the impact of prolonged pub closures on their community and local economy, according to a new study.

The research, released today as part of Drinks Industry Group of Ireland's Support Your Local campaign, reveals that over half of pubs are reported temporarily or permanently closed (56 per cent) as a result of Covid-19 restrictions.

Broken down further, 61 per cent of people living in rural areas reported a local pub closure, compared to 50 per cent in urban areas.

These prolonged pub closures have raised a number of concerns for those within local communities, with over 60 per cent of people concerned about the knock-on effects of the restrictions on the local economy.

According to the research, the main concerns surrounding the closure of pubs in local areas include:

  • The loss of jobs within the local community (78 per cent)
  • The negative impact on supporting industries (75 per cent)
  • The isolation and loneliness of elderly people within the community (67 per cent)
  • The lack of support for musicians and the arts (67 per cent)

Community impact

People have noticed significant changes to their local communities as a result of pub closures. The research found that six in ten people (59 per cent) visited their local pub at least once a month before the Covid-19 pandemic.

Since the Government implemented restrictions on the opening of pubs, half (53 per cent) feel that the vibrancy of the community has dampened, with 50% also noting a decrease in the level of community spirit and morale among the community.

Supporting the industry

Over 72 per cent of the Irish population believe it is time for the Government to step in with additional support for the drinks and hospitality industry.

Three fifths of the population believe that local publicans will act responsibly and ensure public health measures and guidelines are enforced correctly, while the majority (90 per cent) say that they are also taking personal responsibility for their health and safety by adhering to public health advice.

Meanwhile, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said that the next date pubs are given for reopening will not be changed.

"What I'd like this time is to give publicans a date that actually happens. A lot of them [publicans] feel that they were brought to a point on a two occasions where they thought pubs were going to be opened in a few days."

A new date is expected to be revealed in the Government's six-nine month plan for living with Covid-19, set to be published next week. Green Party leader Eamon Ryan described the plan “as important as if not more important to my mind than the budget”.