The VFI has strongly rejected the portrayal of pubs in a recent Irish Times article measuring the health of Ireland’s main streets, where pubs were categorised as having a negative impact on towns and villages.
Outlets received a positive or negative score depending on what they contributed to a town, so pharmacies would achieve a positive score while a fast food restaurant would receive a minus score.
VFI Chief Executive Padraig Cribben says: “Given that the expert panel convened by The Irish Times determined that social interaction was one of the crucial dimensions to people’s health that can be affected by high street outlets, it’s bizarre that pubs received a negative score. Pubs are the very definition of a space that promotes social interaction.
According to the experts, pubs were scored negatively because “of the negative impact of alcohol in Irish society”.
The VFI Chief Executive adds: “Pubs are so much more then venues that serve alcohol. Even the experts agree, with one doctor in the feature stating ‘I know a lot of older people who, if they didn’t have a pub, would go no place else’ while a professor of sociology says pubs are places where people can get a hot meal and socialise.
“Our pubs play a positive role in society so portraying them in such a negative fashion does a huge disservice to pubs and the communities they serve.
“It’s also worth pointing out most alcohol (60%) is purchased in supermarkets and outlets other than pubs, a fact the expert panel probably didn’t consider,” concludes Mr Cribben