The Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) and Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) have responded positively to the new Programme for Government, in particular the promise to create a Night-time Economy Taskforce.

The (VFI) called the publication of the Programme for Government as “An important step in the process of providing key supports for the pub trade during an extremely challenging period for the sector”.

The VFI said its members are encouraged that the new government is to establish an SME task force to co-ordinate the response to COVID 19.

“The formation of a new government is vital if we are to see a coherent response to the economic challenges the pub sector faces due to Covid-19,” said Padraig Cribben, VFI Chief Executive.

“The so-called ‘July Stimulus’ will be a crucial weapon in the new Government’s armoury and must be used to support the hospitality sector as we emerge into a new trading reality for our members,“ he continued.

The VFI also welcomed the commitment contained within the Programme for Government to introducing Minimum Unit Pricing in consultation with Northern Ireland.

Other welcomed measures in the Programme for Government include the creation of a Night-time Economy Taskforce, reviewing of the licensing application process and trading hours for pubs. The LVA believes the reform of the licensing application process is long overdue, calling the current process overly expensive and bureaucratic. Participation on the new Night-time Economy Taskforce will be a key issue for Dublin pubs.

“We look forward to working with the new Government to promote our pub culture, one of the country’s greatest assets. During this period of vulnerability for the pub trade, where social distancing requirements will hugely impact on our members’ ability to trade, it’s important we do everything possible to support pubs until all restrictions are removed,” said Mr. Cribben.

LVA Chief Executive Donall O’Keeffe said: “The devil will be in the detail and that is why we will be seeking to engage extensively with the new Government on several of these proposals.

“In particular the measures to support pubs and the rest of the hospitality sector in the stimulus plan will be vitally important. The pubs in this country are unique. They are not only significant employers but also a part of the community in every city, town and village across the country while also being a strong contributor to our tourism offering. This will need to be recognised in any recovery packages, something we will be discussing with the new Government as soon as the opportunity arise,” he continued.

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