A CORK publican has issued an apology after he was recorded saying he hopes the Covid-19 pandemic goes on for “another ten years”, in a video that has been widely shared online.
Tony Campion, owner of The Silver Key Bar and Restaurant in Ballinlough, claims he was “surreptitiously filmed” without his consent when he “insensitively bragged” about Covid subsidies.
In the video, which Mr Campion said was recorded "during a private party" at his premises, he is seen saying he hopes Covid-19 continues for another ten years so he can afford a “place in Barbados.”
He said he has 24 fewer staff now than before the pandemic, meaning he pays out less in wages.
“We had 64 staff here prior to Covid-19," he said.
“We’re back at 40 staff so my payroll is about €18.5k a week, it was about €30k/€32k a week."
He goes on to say that the Government "give me 15,000 dollars back every week for the Government subsidy".
In a post on the business Facebook page, Mr Campion issued an apology for his remarks. The post has since been removed.
"They say that when drink is in, sense is out and boy has this wise old phrase echoed ever so loudly for me over the past few days," he wrote.
“Recently, during a private party at my premises I insensitively bragged about payments relating to Covid.
“At the time, I believed this to be a bit of inebriated banter among friends.
“Unbeknown to me however, was that my bravado was being surreptitiously filmed without my consent and that the video would then be later used online as a vehicle to publicly embarrass, humiliate and in some cases, abuse and threaten me.
“What I said was wrong and I am sorry for it.”
He added that he has been under "a lot of anxiety and stress" as a result of two bereavements that occurred during the pandemic.
“Letting off steam like this was one of my ways of coping with it, although totally inappropriate,” he said.
“I understand that many people have also suffered terribly during the pandemic and I wholeheartedly apologise for any upset caused to anyone by my comments,” he concluded.