A LOCAL representative of the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland has called for clarity on the government’s financial package for pub owners facing ruin.
Michael O’Donovan, the Cork County PRO for the federation, told The Southern Star: ‘We urgently need to know what financial help the government plans to provide publicans.
‘This has been a lost summer. There are no tourists, and the staycations will be all over by the time pubs will be allowed to reopen.’
Mr O’Donovan added: ‘Most pub owners are facing financial ruin and will need the financial institutions to extend the moratorium on mortgage and personal loans.’
He appealed to the government to allow pubs to reopen on the next deadline of August 31st, ‘to show that we are capable of running our establishments in a safe and controlled manner.’
Mr O’Donovan also noted that publicans had ordered kegs in anticipation of re-opening on July 20th, a date that was extended to August 10th, and has now been pushed out to August 31st.
Although it might seem like ‘small beer’ to some, he said pub owners will now have to return these kegs because they will be ‘spoiled,’ as they will be outside the six-week sell-by date.
West Cork TD Michael Collins (Ind) confirmed that the rural independent TDs group requested a meeting with the Taoiseach, the ghealth minister Stephen Donnelly and the National Public Health Emergency Team.
Deputy Collins rejected the Taoiseach’s expression of sympathy saying, ‘sympathy doesn’t pay bills, or keep doors open.’ He said: ‘The decision to put nightclubs in with rural pubs is absolutely scandalous – the problem is in Kildare and in Dublin, not the rest of the country.’
Dunmanway Cllr Deirdre Kelly (FF) said the local pub – like the post office and small shop – ‘is an essential part of the social fabric that binds our communities together’ and she called for a concrete plan for safe reopening.
Cllr Sean O’Donovan (FF) took out a lease on a pub in Crosshaven last February. ‘The plan,’ he said, ‘was to carry out renovations and to have it open for St Patrick’s Day, but of course that didn’t happen. The renovations did go ahead, and a professional kitchen was put in place, so I will be ready to open next week and meet the current Covid-19 requirements.’
He said, ‘I am, in that regard, fortunate but it is heart-breaking for the owners of rural pubs who can’t provide food, and can’t open.’
Cllr Danny Collins, pictured above, has also criticised the decision not to allow pubs to open. And Deputy Christopher O’Sullivan (FF) said he had personally asked Minister Donnelly for pubs to be allowed to re-open under proper guidelines and controls.
‘I have lost the battle to reopen pubs on August 10th. However, the battle for me now is to make sure publicans get significant supports to get them through.’