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Government mooted plans ‘proof’ it does not trust publicans

Industry leaders said the pub trade had been hit ‘extremely hard’ during the pandemic.

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A man sits outside an empty pub in Dublin’s city centre (Brian Lawless/PA)

A man sits outside an empty pub in Dublin’s city centre (Brian Lawless/PA)

A man sits outside an empty pub in Dublin’s city centre (Brian Lawless/PA)

The Government does not trust publicans, pub staff or pub customers, the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) has claimed.

LVA chief executive Donall O’Keeffe said the Government’s mooted plans to block the reopening of wet pubs next month and to make it more difficult for pubs who serve food to reopen after the lockdown was “proof” that they do not trust publicans.

His comments come as the Tanaiste said the Government intends to allow retail, gyms and hair and beauty salons to reopen first but that the reopening of bars and restaurants was still up for discussion.

It is expected that wet pubs will be forced to stay shut.

Mr O’Keefe said the industry had been hit “extremely hard” during the pandemic and that trust in the Government had been eroding for some time.

“Where is the evidence that people are more likely to catch Covid-19 if they don’t have a nine euro meal?

“Where is the evidence that people are less likely to be infected if the meal they have was prepared in a dedicated kitchen rather than coming from a nearby pizzeria?,” he asked.

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Social distancing partitions at Paddy Cullen’s pub in Dublin (Niall Carson/PA)

Social distancing partitions at Paddy Cullen’s pub in Dublin (Niall Carson/PA)

Social distancing partitions at Paddy Cullen’s pub in Dublin (Niall Carson/PA)

“There is no data to support these measures, this is a political decision with the Government showing they are happy to destroy the pubs of this country.

“The Government’s own guidelines have the same social distancing measures and time limits in place for wet pubs, food pubs and restaurants.

“Yet they are pursuing policies which will only keep the wet pubs closed and ensure that more venues are classified as wet pubs.”

Mr O’Keeffe added: “This is the Government formally saying they don’t trust the publicans of this country to follow the guidelines, they don’t trust pub staff to implement them and they don’t trust pub customers to behave themselves.”

He also said the Government is pushing a message of “individual responsibility” but when it comes to pubs and pub customers it seemed they are “quite happy to deny us such rights and freedoms”.

The LVA said 250 wet pubs in Dublin will been closed by the Government for 260 consecutive days by December 1.

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More than half the pubs in the country are classified as wet pubs.

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