Government's €16m support package for pubs 'woefully inadequate'

ireland
Government's €16M Support Package For Pubs 'Woefully Inadequate' Government's €16M Support Package For Pubs 'Woefully Inadequate'
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Tomas Doherty
A €16 million support package to help pubs, bars and nightclubs during the Covid-19 pandemic has been described by the industry as "woefully inadequate" while Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said there is no guarantee pubs will reopen this year.

On Friday, the Government announced that pubs and bars that are currently closed can apply for a new restart grant, which will give a 40 per cent top up to businesses which plan to reopen.

They can now receive a minimum of €5,600 and a maximum of €35,000 under the plan.

Donall O'Keeffe, chief executive of the Licensed Vintners Association, said the support package was "completely underwhelming".

"Every business in the country can get a restart grant between €4,000 and €25,000, including pubs, and that's very welcome.

"But we're now going to be dealing with a sector that has been closed for a minimum of six months. So an additional 40 per cent simply doesn't compensate those pubs for the cost of a six-month closure," he said.

"It's woefully inadequate".

Kerry TD Michael Healy-Rae said the €16 million package was an insult to publicans.

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He said: "Publicans up and down the length and breadth of Ireland are reeling in shock at the way this Government has treated them. They've been sold out and they're being treated really, really badly."

"On the one hand, they can't open their doors, and on the other hand, what has been offered to them is nothing, virtually nothing."

Announcing the funding on Friday, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar acknowledged that it had been a "difficult few months" for pub owners.

“This package, in addition to the grants and subsidies already available, will help pub owners with expenses to do with getting ready for re-opening. We want to make sure that our pubs are in a position to reopen as soon as it is safe to do so,” he said.

The Government also agreed on Friday evening to give greater enforcement powers to gardaí for pubs that do not comply with Covid-19 public health guidelines.

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