Taoiseach Micheál Martin has met with a group of publicans from Monaghan, who travelled to Dublin on Thursday 3rd September to launch a billboard campaign calling for the reopening of pubs.
The group, Monaghan Publicans for Common Sense, were highlighting the fact that pubs not serving food remain closed in Ireland while they are open in the rest of Europe. Pubs not serving food, or ‘wet’ pubs, make up the majority of pubs outside of Ireland’s major cities.
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has referenced numerous times this week the disparity between Ireland’s legislation on pubs as compared to approaches in other European countries.
Monaghan Publicans for Common Sense launched their campaign at Merrion Square and five publicans took part – an intentional reference to the current social distancing rules.
At the event, Brian Reneghan of The Horse Shoe Bar in Clontibret said: “For months pub owners across Ireland have borne the costs of this pandemic, and we have done so largely without public complaint. But that ends today.
“Across Europe, the pubs are open. Pubs in Northern Ireland can serve outdoors. As publicans in the border counties, we have to observe the ludicrous situation where we watch our life’s work slowly slide into bankruptcy while our customers go across the border to Crossmaglen or Aughnacloy for a pint.”
Noel McNally, owner of McNally’s bar in Carrickmacross, said: “We’re calling for basic common sense. Our pubs can safely reopen. If schools can open, as we’ve seen this week, and off-licences can open, and if the Government can talk about bringing back concerts, then small-town pubs can reopen. The Government seems willing to trust everyone else in the country, except for pub owners and their customers.”
The protest comes as the Government has confirmed that a new long-term roadmap for living with COVID 19 is due to be published on 14th September.