Pub owners are pleading with the government to give them an opportunity to prove they can open in a safe manner over the Christmas period.
The Vinters Federation of Ireland (VFI) took aim at the government and NPHET and criticised speculation that pubs will not be allowed to open unless they have a chef and a kitchen.
The VFI said that NPHET has an ‘anti-pub’ agenda and is demonising a trade that is now fighting for it’s very survival.
“It’s difficult to overstate how angry publicans are right now,” said Padraig Cribben, VFI Chief Executive.
“They feel demonised by the leaks coming from Government, that no matter what regulations and guidelines they implement it won’t be enough for NPHET who clearly have an anti-pub agenda.”
“The facts are clear, pubs are safer than restaurants according to the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC).
“The Government’s reopening guidelines recognise both pubs and restaurants as ‘controlled environments’, so there is no logic for allowing restaurants open and refusing pubs the same right.”
VFI says that since early March, publicans have acted responsibly and done everything asked of them, including closing their businesses, introducing strict social distancing protocols, training staff and reducing capacity in venues.
“What does it say about Taoiseach Micheal Martin’s attitude to pub-goers that he’s happy to trust restaurant owners and their customers yet, for some inexplicable reason, doesn’t think publicans and their patrons are deserving of trust?” added Padraig Cribben.
“This attitude to publicans and their customers is appalling and will lead to great distress and unrest among our members. In splitting the hospitality sector in half, into winners and losers, the Taoiseach is playing with fire.
“Even at this late stage we ask him to make the common sense decision to allow all pubs reopen like the rest of the hospitality sector.”