SF Deputy Martin Kenny
Speaking in his constituency, Sinn Féin TD for Sligo, Leitrim, North Roscommon and South Donegal said he was concerned that the government’s plan to offer a €16 million to pubs and other licenced premises to help them reopen will not be enough to save many of them.
Deputy Kenny said: “I fear that it may be too late for some licenced premises already. The subsidies and grants cannot compensate for the economic and social losses incurred by the Covid-19 restrictions.
“If this pandemic continues as it is now, and we find that we must live with it for the foreseeable future, then government and vintners have to sit down and work out a more intelligent and rational way of allowing pubs and bars to open while protecting customers and staff.
“Those pubs which are not set up for serving food are at a disadvantage. Many hoped that they would be open by now and are in the dilemma of not knowing if it is worth it to invest in setting up kitchens at this stage or to remain closed and sit it out hoping that restrictions will be eased.
“It is hard to avoid the notion that if the whole €9 meal had been taken out of the equation from the start and the measures such as time limits on the premises, social distancing, restrictions on the number of customers and hand sterilisation had been properly imposed, that most of the pubs that are now shut could have continued to trade.”