More than half of pubs and bars in Ireland have temporarily or permanently closed, according to new research.
A survey from industry body the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI) found that 56% of pubs and bars in Ireland have temporarily or permanently closed. Almost two thirds of drinkers in Ireland are concerned about the impact on-trade closures will have on their communities, the survey found.
According to the survey, half of adults in Ireland fear the extended closure of pubs and bars in the country due to the coronavirus pandemic will result in a decreased level of community spirit and morale in their community.
The survey also found that 72% of the Irish population believes that the government needs to step in and provide further support measures to save the drinks and hospitality industry.
Rosemary Garth, chair of the DIGI, said: “To ensure that pubs in local communities can not only reopen, but reopen with a fighting chance of recovery, the government must not delay any longer. We must look to reopen the pubs immediately.”
The DIGI survey found that 78% of people are concerned about the loss of jobs as a result of closures, 75% fear for the negative impact on supporting industries and 67% worry about isolation and loneliness as a result of the closures.
The survey also reported that 67% of those polled are also concerned about the lack of support for musicians and the arts as a result of the closure of venues that would normally host live music.
Garth said: “The prolonged closure of pubs in Ireland is not only having a negative effect on those who are directly involved in the industry: it is having widespread impact on local communities.
“This is truly devastating to see. According to our research, the vast majority of people in Ireland have noticed significant change to their local community, with a particular decline in community spirits and morale.
“The role of the pub in local communities has never been more prominent. It is only now, as many pubs remain shut or have closed permanently as a result of the lockdown, that people are recognising how important the industry is for local wellbeing, job creation, and the broader economy.
“To ensure that pubs in local communities can not only reopen, but reopen with a fighting chance of recovery, the government must not delay any longer.
“We must look to reopen the pubs immediately, putting meaningful supports in place to allow them to recover from the damage of the past six months.”
The DIGI reiterated its call on the government to cut excise tax on alcohol in Ireland by 15%. Ireland has the second highest overall excise tax on alcohol in the EU and the third highest on spirits.
Garth added: “Without a reduction in excise tax levels for the sector, pubs, already indebted and at reduced capacity, will reopen with the second highest rates in the EU. This will put them on an immediate backfoot and threaten more permanent closures.”