Local publicans highly critical of latest NPHET recommendations

Photo courtesy of Harney's Final Furlong Facebook page

Tipperary publicans say a 5pm finish is the same as a closure, as they approach what would have been their only busy time of year.

They have hit out at NPHET’s recommendations, saying it is yet another blow to the sector.

Between closures, restricted opening and lockdowns, the festive period presented a potential for boosted revenue.

There will be a full Cabinet meeting to discuss the recommendations, which also include cinemas, theatres and sporting events.

Mairéad Ryan of Paddy’s Bar in Terryglass told Tipp Today that the announcement was yet another attack on the hospitality industry.

“I’m gutted this morning, 5 o’clock closing is a real hammer blow, it’s in essence a closure order for us.

“As you know, we’re out in a small little village, passing trade wouldn’t be an issue for us, so lunch time trade, even though we’re open, isn’t anything at all.

“Now, we were depending on this Christmas to bring us back a little bit.

“The closures have a huge financial impact on us, and I have been saying to some of my colleagues in the business, like we won’t get back in a year, it will be a good five years before we’re back, as a result of what has happened up to now.”

She added that they will struggle in terms of recouping the financial and staffing losses.

Another local publican says pubs shouldn’t have to close at 5pm if shops and off licences can still sell alcohol until much later.

If NPHET’s recommendations go through, it would be bad news for many rural pubs, who usually don’t open until 5pm, when it’s now proposed they’ll close.

John Harney of Harney’s Final Furlong in Clerihan told Tipp Today that parity is needed.

“I think even the suggestion of a 5 o’clock closing time is ludicrous. I don’t open till 5 o’clock, most country pubs, that’s what the situation would be, there’s no day trade.

“We’re kind of caught between a rock and a hard place, and I understand that there’s people listening to ye today and they’d have no sympathy for publicans and that we’re whingers, and that we’re giving out and this, that and the other.

“I’ve always, from the start of this, argued for fairness, tis the differential is the problem – at the moment, I would have to close my pub at 5 o’clock and yet Tesco can stay selling drink until ten o’clock.”