5% of pubs nationwide have permanently closed since March 2020, according to an analysis of licence renewals published by the Revenue Commissioners.

349 pubs have closed since the beginning of the pandemic, which vintners representatives say signal the extent of the distress faced by pubs as restrictions continue to impact the sector.

According to the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) and Licenced Vintners’ Association (LVA) the revelation of a 5% drop in pub licence renewals is a dramatic escalation in the crisis faced by pubs.

The figures, which were taken from an analysis of licence renewals published by the Revenue Commissioners, shows pubs have closed across the country, with Cork losing 37 pubs while Dublin has lost 33 public houses. Donegal lost the same number, 33, while Kerry has seen 22 pubs not renew their licences.

There are now 6,788 seven day pub licenses in the country, down from 7,137 before the pandemic.

In light of these new figures, both the VFI and LVA say it’s critically important restrictions on trading are removed as planned this coming Friday 22nd October. Given that 90% of over 18s are now vaccinated the trade organisations say that retaining the vaccine pass system would allow Government the reopening of late night hospitality, end mandatory table service, resume bar counter service and allow pubs to trade under normal opening hours.

Padraig Cribben, Chief Executive of the VFI, said: “These new figures reveal Covid’s dramatic impact on the trade over the past 19 months. To lose 5% of pubs in such a short timeframe is unprecedented and underlines how the pub trade bore the brunt of pandemic restrictions.

“In light of recent speculation about delaying the ending of restrictions, the news that pubs are closing across the country will only heighten anxiety in the trade.”

Donall O’Keeffe, Chief Executive of the LVA, says: “Losing 349 pubs across the country indicates the magnitude of what’s happened to the pub trade since March 2020. These pubs closed even with the Government supports in place.

“Anticipation is high ahead of the lifting of 22nd October for the simple reason that publicans are desperate to get back to normal trading.”

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