WATCH: ‘If you’re the Wetherspoons, you’ve backup. We could lose our home the way things were going’ - Limerick publican on Covid shutdown

A COUNTY Limerick couple feared they would lose their home if they continued to try and run their rural pub, due to the mounting cost of overheads in the Covid-19 climate.

Simon and Pauline McAuliffe, proprietors of McAuliffe's pub in Dromin - a popular halfway house between Kilmallock and Bruff - say they feel “hurt” and “sad” at having to turn off the taps of their family-run business which has served the community of south Limerick for the past 75 years.

“There are so many things going against trying to run a small business that are being overlooked,” Simon, 58, told the Leader this Thursday.

“If you are living on Leeson Street or Temple Bar or you are in things in a big way  - you’re the Wetherspoons or whatever you call them other pubs, that’s fine, you have backup, you’ve people, you’ve money, you’ve turnover. We don’t have that.” 

The cost of overheads, particularly the insurance and ESB bills, made keeping the doors of the public house open, next to impossible.

“We looked at one another and said down the road we are going to be gone, we are going to be bust, we could lose our home the way things were going,” Simon continued.

“We didn’t want to be millionaires by no means but we couldn’t make enough to get by per week.”

When the couple - who met over a game of poker at a mutual friend’s house in 1985 - initially closed their doors on March 15 never for a second did they think the taps and conversation wouldn’t flow again in McAuliffe’s bar.

“We closed on the fifteenth of March and there were a good lot of the locals around and we were all laughing and blackguarding and I said ‘shur look, give it a month lads and we’ll be back going again. We just couldn’t believe it - it went from week to week to week. It just didn’t stop,” said Pauline, 57. 

“We’re hurt. Hurt and sad. Sad for the local people. We wouldn’t have a huge clientele but they are loyal customers - farmers, contractors, the local elderly people. It wasn’t about drinking. It was that chat - get out to meet someone. Some of the lads live two and three miles in off the fields. They are not married, and are on their own. Come seven at night they’d say 'look I’ll go out for an oul chat'.”

See next week’s edition of the Limerick Leader for more


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