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15 Aug 2022

Report reveals Limerick pub closures during Covid-19 pandemic

Report reveals Limerick pub closures during Covid-19 pandemic

In the past 16 years, some 139 pubs have ceased trading across Limerick

A NEW ANALYSIS has revealed 19 pubs across Limerick closed during the Covid-19 pandemic.

And last orders have been called at almost one in three local bars since 2005.

The report from the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI) reveals there has been a decline of 29.1% in terms of pubs operating across Limerick city and county since the middle of the first decade of the new millennium.

The Treaty County has been one of the hardest places hit in the State with 139 bar closures in the last 16 years.

In 2005 there were 478 pubs across Limerick, while at the end of last year, that had fallen to 339. Pre-pandemic in 2019, 359 pubs were trading in Limerick. 

The only areas to see more pub closures in percentage terms were the midlands counties of Laois and Offaly.

Elsewhere, Meath and Dublin appear to have suffered the least in terms of closures, with a 1.4% closure rate in the Royal County and a 4.3% cessation of trade in the capital.

The finds have prompted DIGI to call on government to ease the cost burden on rural drinks businesses to ensure their sustainability by reducing Ireland’s high alcohol excise tax over the next two years

In Kerry, there was a 15.3% drop off in pub numbers, with the fall being 28.5% in Cork, 24.7% in Clare and 26.3% in Tipperary.

The report highlights that many public houses operate at relatively low levels of sales volume. One of the factors which influence business sustainability at these low sales volumes, which is within the control of the Government, is the high Irish alcohol excise level which represents a significant cost on the business.

The chief executive of the Vintners Federation of Ireland Paul Clancy described the report as "alarming".

"1,829 rural pub closures represent businesses that provide jobs, a hub in the local community for socialising and community integration and a cultural centre which has long been documented as among the main attractions for tourists visiting Ireland. The pace of decline increased as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic which saw the drinks and hospitality industry suffer the worst of all, with one of the longest lockdowns recorded globally," he said.

Kathryn D’Arcy, the recently appointed Chair of DIGI added: "The Irish pub has been in a steady decline for years, and these stark figures once again highlight the need to secure the sustainable future of our pubs. Central to this is introducing policy measures which can make both an immediate difference and a long-term impact in terms of delivering sustainable policy to support these businesses. DIGI is seeking a reduction in Ireland’s high excise tax rate which would deliver on this.”

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