Pubs in Leitrim are at crisis point with only a “bleak” future to look forward to after 2012 was “one of the worst years on record,” according to the Vintners Federation of Ireland.
Although pubs and clubs may have enjoyed a busy Christmas and New Year the past 12 months have been hard on many rural bars around the county.
The Vintners say “we face into another 12 months under a government that doesn’t appreciate the role we play and with some suppliers that don’t appreciate the business that we give, the future is bleak and the majority of our membership is very downbeat to put it mildly.”
Consumers are drinking less as incomes shrink, the population ages and concerns about heath grow. They are also switching to off-licences where alcohol is cheaper and there is more choice.
The associations says “An astonishing 20% of our members are at crisis point. 800 pubs are in serious financial trouble as they face 2013. That is 4,800 jobs at risk; 4,800 new signatures on the live register. Because they will be in twos and threes nobody seems to take notice or indeed care. It is also 800 family businesses facing a terribly uncertain future.”
Vintners members support over 54,000 jobs in Ireland. These are local families depending on local employment in local areas.
“Trade is down 34% in the last five years and without doubt the announcements made in Budget 2013 will put further pressure on a consumer that is already struggling and has no confidence in their purchasing power. When we should be encouraging people to spend and to support local business, we have driven them away.
“Successive governments have watched as the corner shop, the local post office, rural schools and Garda stations have been driven to the wall and the present administration seem happy to do the same to the Irish pub,” the VFI concluded.