THE Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI) has said that any further enforced “unfair” lockdown of Cork pubs cannot continue “unaided”.
The umbrella organisation that represents the country’s drinks and hospitality industry has called for immediate financial support.
The hospitality and drinks businesses employ over 19,000 people in Cork, generating €784 million in revenue for the local tourism economy, according to a 2017 report by DCU Economist Anthony Foley.
Cork’s wet pubs have been closed for five months with some publicans reporting that although there is “still water in the well” that it could soon dry up if further closure is forced upon them.
Chair of the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland and Director of Communications and Corporate Affairs at Irish Distillers, Rosemary Garth, warned that any further lockdown will be the difference in pubs reopening or not in the long term.
“Irish pubs are generally small businesses with modest revenues. 90% of pubs are located outside of Dublin. Irish pubs have endured the longest lockdown in the EU, losing half a year of business. The Government has so far failed to provide them with any kind of reassurance, certainty, or long-term support,” she said.
Labour Councillor John Maher and Local Area Reps Peter Horgan and Ciara Kennedy have called for a fully funded, comprehensive package for publicans to be rolled out immediately.
Mr Maher said that pubs “have adhered strictly to the public health advice but are the only industry left faced with uncertainty and a lack of a level playing field”.
“We are all trying to adhere to public health advice but one industry is to remain closed. It's akin to a public health sacrifice by this Government and the publicans are in the firing line,” said Mr Horgan.
Ms Kennedy stressed that “a fully funded package of measures tailored to publicans in Cork is desperately needed” and that “anything less will see livelihoods destroyed permanently”.