Pub closures continue as revenue figures show 71 rural pubs closed in 2018 – 1,535 less pubs in rural Ireland than in 2005.Drinks Industry Group of Ireland analysis shows nearly 20% of (1,535) rural pubs closed between 2005 and 2018, compared to just 1% in Dublin.
Revenue figures show the rural pub population declined by almost a quarter in Tipperary (-22.5%),
Lobby groups have called on the Government to ease burden on rural drinks businesses by reducing Ireland’s high alcohol excise tax over the next two years. They say we have the second-highest overall alcohol excise tax in the EU, the highest excise tax on wine, the second highest on beer, and the third highest on spirits
But should there be other solutions? In the UK pubs are almost becoming like Cafes and community centres to stay open in a village and old churches are going the same direction, as there are few places for the community to meet up.
In Waterford, the pub population is down 18.1% or 47 less pubs since 2005 while the drinks and hospitality sector enable 5,260 jobs and €138 million in tourism spend in the constituency.
The majority of these low-earning businesses are located in rural Ireland and are particularly vulnerable to taxation policy, any sudden tax increases, any decline in inward tourism and economic uncertainty.
For pubs in rural or isolated areas, the extremely high cost of alcohol excise tax puts them in a precarious position, limiting their ability to trade more successfully, continue to attract tourism and to invest in their business.
Our pubs are a significant part of regional Ireland and play a crucial role as community meeting points in rural and isolated parts of the country.According to recent research conducted among 400 publicans by DIGI, more than three-quarters (77%) say their business plays an important part in providing a place for local people to come together for family occasions, like birthdays, christenings and funerals.
68% of publicans say that their business sponsors a local team, charity or community group, while 63% say that their pub provides a space for elderly people living in isolation to socialise with others.
Research conducted among 1,000 consumers by Amárach Research in May found that when international relatives visit Ireland, pubs and restaurants prove more popular than tourist attractions, as more than half (51%) of Irish people bring international visitors to their local pub, 64% bring their guests to their local restaurant, both compared to just 1% who bring their guests to their local tourist attraction.
Rural pubs are businesses that provide jobs, a hub in the local community for socialising and community integration and a cultural powerhouse which is among the main attractions for tourists visiting Ireland.
While the Government committed to assist small rural businesses recover during the recession, business owners in the drinks industry were challenged by two increases in alcohol excise tax in Budget 2012 and Budget 2013 and want some relief on taxes.