Publicans in Galway have expressed their disappointment with the government’s decision not to allow wet pubs to reopen, and warned that the future of the sector is in jeopardy.
Johnny Duggan, proprietor of Taylor’s Bar & Beer Garden and chairman of the Galway City Vintners said that publicans in Galway are “bitterly disappointed” in the government’s decision not to allow all pubs to reopen under the same guidelines.
As Ireland moves out of Level 5, restaurants and pubs that serve a “substantial meal” are allowed to reopen again today, including for indoor dining.
However, ‘wet pubs’ which do not serve food will not be allowed to reopen except for takeaway and delivery services.
“Whether you have a kitchen on your premises or not, whether you serve food or not, as long as everyone operates to the guidelines, adheres to all protocols, then whether you have a burger or a pint in front of you, it is irrelevant,” Duggan said.
Duggan said that pubs are being “scapegoated”, based on one study which associated the reopening of wet pubs with a rise in cases in Cork, Galway and Limerick in late September.
“This was at a time when students had returned to cities, house parties were very active and club GAA finals were run off.”
“It was clear that in July, August & September, as per HSE own evidence, only 0.3% of positive cases were associated with the hospitality sector.”
He added that the sector is “on its knees” and that pubs will not survive without significant stimulus and government funding.
The Galway City branch of the Vintners Federation of Ireland recently appointed a new committee with publicans from across the city, which aims to revitalise the pubs sector.
It consists of Adrianne Hanley (Murty Rabbitts), John Mannion (Front Door/ Dail Bar/Tigh Nora/Tom Sheridans/Blakes Corner Bar), Tony Freeney (Freeneys Bar), Jason O’Connell (Galway Bay Brewery/Dew Drop/Salt House/The Oslo), John Callanan (The Skeff/Karma), Simon Heaslip (Roisin Dubh/Massimo/Blue Note/Galway Comedy Festival), Paul Grealish (The Kings Head), Tom O’Connor (O’Connor’s Salthill), Fergus McGinn (McGinns Hop House), Martin Proulx (Seven, The Cellar Bar).
“We look forward to welcoming tourists and locals back in the not too distant future hopefully with the recent announcements of potential vaccinations,” Johnny Duggan said.