A WEST Cork bar that’s encouraging its customers not to use their smartphones on the premises has prompted a local senator to call for a more general ban.
While not strictly banning their use at the family-run pub, The Anchor Bar in Courtmacsherry, Padraig Whelton told The Southern Star that he encourages customers to put their phones away while they are in the pub.
‘We did think of putting up a sign asking people not to use their smartphones in our bar but, as business owners, we can’t afford to be losing customers, either, so there’s a commercial reality there too,’ said Padraig.
‘What we are trying to do in our bar is to encourage people to talk and converse with each other, instead of staring at their phones. This is more relevant with younger people these days, who can’t seem to engage with each other without looking at their phones.’
Regular customers to The Anchor Bar – which is run by Padraig’s son Patrick – usually go outside if they have to make a phone call.
‘I would be surprised if someone started using their phone in the bar now – it’s all about bringing back the art of conversation. We have great banter and chats with our customers,’ said Padraig.
Meanwhile, Cork Senator Tim Lombard – who is a member of the Oireachtas Committee on Communications – said that the overuse of smartphones is harming Ireland’s world-famous hospitality sector.
‘The Irish hospitality culture is fuelled by engaging conversation in our pubs and restaurants. We are known worldwide for being very sociable, being able to talk to the wall, and having the craic,’ said Sen Lombard.
‘I think such initiatives like at The Anchor Bar have to be encouraged and supported and we need to seriously think about how technology harmfully affects our social lives.’
Sen Lombard pointed out that in his home parish of Tracton, its five pubs have no mobile phone coverage at all.
‘While admittedly this is a hindrance for daily business in a rural area, there is a positive effect too,’ he said.
‘With no mobile phones ringing or WhatsApp messages buzzing, when it comes to the art of conversation and talking to each other, we have the best possible place for it.’
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