CORK’S number of pubs has shrunk by 25.6% since 2005 with 313 less in business, according to a new report.
The Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI) said their figures are a “stark reminder” of the decline of pubs in Ireland.
The analysis shows nearly 20% of (1,535) rural pubs closed between 2005 and 2018, compared to just 1% in Dublin.
In 2005, there were 1,221 pubs across Cork compared to 908 currently. The decline in Dublin was just 1.3%. Limerick had the highest rate of pub closures in this time with 27.8% of licensed premises closing down.
The drinks and hospitality sector in Cork still employs 19,542 people and contributes €784 million to the economy.
Rosemary Garth, chair of DIGI and director of communications and corporate affairs at Irish Distillers, said: “Ireland’s rural pubs have been on a steady decline for years, despite their immense importance and contribution to local communities across the country. Our high alcohol excise tax has played a role in this. DIGI is calling on the Government to take action to protect a vulnerable part of the Irish economy from further collapse by reducing alcohol excise tax by 15% over the next two years.
“With the now very real prospect of a no-deal Brexit, Government action and support have never been more important,” Ms Garth added.
DIGI has called on the Government to reduce alcohol excise tax by 15% over the next two years - 7.5% in Budget 2020 and then by an additional 7.5% in Budget 2021.
The report claims 68% of publicans say that their business sponsors a local team, charity or community group, while 63% say that their pub provides a space for elderly people living in isolation to socialise with others.
Padraig Cribben, DIGI member and CEO at Vintners’ Federation of Ireland said:
“The number of rural pubs are down 20% in the period from 2005 to 2018 which is hugely worrying. This equates to 1,535 rural pubs which are businesses that provide jobs, a hub in the local community for socialising and community integration and a cultural powerhouse which is among the main attractions for tourists visiting Ireland.”