Cork publican: €9 meal a 'tax' on the elderly

Cork publican: €9 meal a 'tax' on the elderly

Benny McCabe in his smoking room in the Bodega Bar in Cork. Picture: Des Barry.

Well-known Cork publican Benny McCabe has said he is taking the reopening of all of his premises including Mutton Lane, Sin É and The Oval as a “grave responsibility”.

The publican had already opened the doors of several of his Heritage pubs including back in July and is now serving food at all of his reopened premises which he said is “hardly ideal” but is happy to be able to reopen.

“We take reopening as a grave responsibility and that’s how we’re approaching it and we’re taking nothing for granted.

“We have to be mindful of our own health, staff’s health and customers' health so we’re taking it easy and have our fingers crossed and pray to God there's not another lockdown.” 

He said that the reaction from customers who have been 99.9% compliant with the measures in place has been “great” and said that hopefully things will go back to some bit of normality “once everyone toes the line and we all play by the rules”.

Mr McCabe said that the most encouraging thing when reopening was that elderly people aged over 70 were the first customers to return “after we were told we’d never see them again”.

“The most encouraging thing is that the first people to come back were the elderly and it proves that the pub is the right place for them to be and that they make their own decisions and take their own responsibility in relation to the virus and we’ll make it the safest environment possible for them,” he said.

He said, however, that many of the elderly, single parents and people living alone were “mad as hell” with having to pay €9 for a meal.

“It’s an absolute disgrace that a tax on the elderly and on single parents and people living on their own is part of this when they’d all sit down and behave anyway.

“We’d have single mothers who might come out for two beers on a Wednesday between 4pm and 6pm. They've no one to help them and you're asking them for an extra €9, it's a disgrace in that manner.

“It's designed with big large pubs and nightclubs in mind and it takes in no account the people who simply can’t afford it and most people can't afford it so they’ll have to drop it fairly fast,” he warned.

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