The traditional Irish pub is to receive a much needed shot in the arm from the Irish government amid fears it may have been heading for extinction.
More than a thousand pubs have closed in Ireland over the last six years. There have been a number of factors that have contributed to this trend.
Below cost alcohol sales in supermarkets
Government policies to reduce the drink drive limit and ban smoking in public places have taken their toll, and the recession has sent the industry into freefall.
The Government is now planning to redress the balance by tackling one of the main threats to the traditional Irish pub: below cost alcohol sales at supermarkets and off licences.
With alcohol so readily available at very cheap prices people are turning their backs on local pubs which do not have the option to sell drinks at below cost price.
Minimum price for alcohol
Prime Minister, Enda Kelly is looking to put a stop to that. He wants to introduce a minimum price for wine and beer.
Sales in pubs have plummeted and are now only two thirds of what they were in 2006. If nothing is done The Vintner’s Federation fear there could be 5,000 job losses in the pub trade in 2012.
Chief executive of the Vintners Federation of Ireland, Padraig Cribben, told the Financial Times: “There are many reasons for the decline of the pub, but they centre around changing lifestyles, regulatory changes and the weak economy.”
Important attraction for tourists
Publican Liam Fitzpatrick commented “At the moment the pub is still up there as an Irish institution – one of the big attractions for tourists and important to communities. There is a danger we could lose that. The government needs to act now.”
The Government hopes its plan to stop big supermarkets taking a loss on alcohol sales will put the pub industry on a more level playing field and will get people out of their house and back to the pubs.