All-out attack on pub sector will create massive unrest, say VFI

The Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) says speculation that pubs will be permitted to open only if they have a chef and kitchen is further proof that Government and its NPHET partners will stop at nothing to grind our sector into the ground. Their actions are demonising a trade that is now fighting for it’s very survival.

Since early March, publicans have acted responsibly and done everything asked of them, including closing their businesses, introducing strict social distancing protocols, training staff and reducing capacity in venues. It would appear all this work is to no avail as Government briefs journalists that so-called ‘wet’ pubs will not reopen while pubs serving food must now take on extra regulations simply to get their doors open.

Padraig Cribben, VFI Chief Executive, says: “It’s difficult to overstate how angry publicans are right now. They feel demonised by the leaks coming from Government, that no matter what regulations and guidelines they implement it won’t be enough for NPHET who clearly have an anti-pub agenda.

“The facts are clear, pubs are safer than restaurants according to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC). The Government’s reopening guidelines recognise both pubs and restaurants as ‘controlled environments’, so there is no logic for allowing restaurants open and refusing pubs the same right.

“What does it say about Taoiseach Micheal Martin’s attitude to pub-goers that he’s happy to trust restaurant owners and their customers yet, for some inexplicable reason, doesn’t think publicans and their patrons are deserving of trust.

“This attitude to publicans and their customers is appalling and will lead to great distress and unrest among our members. In splitting the hospitality sector in half, into winners and losers, the Taoiseach is playing with fire. Even at this late stage we ask him to make the common sense decision to allow all pubs reopen like the rest of the hospitality sector.”