Pub licences in Ireland have decreased by 1,300 over the past five years in Ireland, amid claims by publicans’ groups that the cheap availability of alcohol is causing “death of the Irish pub”.
The decline in the pub trade has been most widespread in counties Cork, Dublin, Mayo, Kerry and Limerick, according to figures from the Revenue Commissioners.
The Vintners Federation if Ireland (VFI), which represents over 4,000 members outside of Dublin said that pubs in rural areas represent the majority of pub closures in recent years.
Garry Mellett, the president of the VFI says that a combination of below-cost selling by grocery stores, drink-driving laws and the smoking ban has led to a major decline in pub-trade throughout Ireland.
“The removal of restrictions on below-cost selling has really broken the back of the industry because they’re selling at prices that we can never compete with,” Mr Mellett told the Irish Times.
“When you combine this with stricter drink-driving regulations and the smoking ban, we’re making it increasingly difficult for people to socialise. The authorities seem intent on over-regulating everything,”
“It is no exaggeration to say the closure of rural pubs in particular is having a devastating effect on the fabric of life in rural Ireland,” said Mr Mellett.
“In many areas the pub functions as an important community focal point, and provides a great social hub for many people.
“Pub closures have inhibited social lives, and have disrupted the community spirit and life of many neighborhoods.”
The breakdown by county of the number of pub licences lost over a three-year period: