• The Government's decision not to allow all pubs to reopen next Monday is a knockout blow for rural publicans - that's according to the Mayo Chair of the Vintners Federation of Ireland.

    The Government last night agreed to delay the move to Phase 4 of the reopening  of the country, as the number of Covid-19 cases continues to rise.

    It means pubs and hotel bars not serving food, along with nightclubs and casinos will remain closed - and the decision will be reviewed again in three weeks.

    Taoiseach Micheal Martin says he knows the decision will come as a disappointment to many businesses, but says it's vital we continue to take a cautious approach.

    However, Achill-based bar and restaurant owner Alan Gielty says it's not fair that rural pubs are being treated in the same way as city pubs, when it comes to the risk of spreading the virus.

    The Mayo chairman of the VFI told Midwest News that the decision is a knockout blow for rural pubs.....

  • Rural pubs which are due to reopen in 11 days time are calling for the urgent publication of reopening guidelines.

    218 pubs in Mayo, 273 in Galway, 121 in Roscommon and 78 in Sligo have yet to reopen.

    The Vintners Federation of Ireland says, with the reopening due to take place on 20th July, these pubs still don't know how they will adapt their businesses to ensure they comply with public health requirements.

    Mayo publican Marie Mellett of Mellets pub in Swinford says publicans remain in the dark about how they should prepare their pubs for reopening, and the absence of guidelines is a major worry.

  • Publicans and restauranteurs claim the new requirement to take note of what food they've served with alcohol is a waste of time.

    New guidelines issued by Fáilte Ireland yesterday require the details of who ate what to be kept for 28 days.

    Vintners' Federation boss Pádraig Cribben says that's an "administrative nightmare", and he doesn't see the point of doing it.

  • Publicans are warning that the move to level three restrictions will see 50,000 job losses in the sector.

    Only outdoor sittings of 15 people will be allowed as part of the measures.

    No indoor service being allowed will mean many pubs across Mayo and the West will not be able to operate.

    The wet pubs were only allowed to reopen two weeks ago after a 6-month closure.

    Padraig Cribben from the Vintners Federation says that while Level 3 restrictions refer to pubs remaining open, the reality is that the majority will close as outdoor service limited to 15 customers is not viable for many pubs:

  • The reduction in the VAT rate in today’s budget is welcome, according to the Mayo Chair of the Vintners Federation of Ireland, Alan Gielty

    Yesterday, Alan spoke to Midwest News about the need in today’s budget for the VAT rate to be reduced from 13.5 to 9%, if publicans are to manage to re-open their premises and survive after the present lockdown.

    There are just a handful of pubs and pub/restaurants continuing to trade in Mayo, under the present Level 3 Restrictions, he claimed. Alan himself has closed his pub/restaurant on Achill Island since last week.

    He told Midwest News this evening the VFI have been lobbying hard for the VAT reduction and says his members are disappointed that today’s budget did not address the issue of a minimum price per unit for alcohol.


  • There are over 100 less pubs in Co Mayo than in 2005 - according to figures released today by the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland.

    Mayo had 467 pubs in 2005, and that was down to 364 last year, while across the country, there are almost 1500 less pubs - a decrease of over 17%.

    Cork saw a 25% decrease in the number of pubs over the 12 year period - the largest drop in the country.

    Dublin, Meath and Wexford saw the smallest decline in publican's licences, while rural counties saw the most significant decrease.

    Padraig Cribben, CEO of the Vintners Federation of Ireland says the statistics are worrying, and show the need for the 9% VAT rate for the hospitality industry to remain in place.

  • Gastropubs and restaurants should have been given more notice, ahead of having to close up again from Christmas Eve afternoon.

    That's according to the Chairman of the Mayo branch of the Vintners Federation of Ireland, Alan Gielty, who runs a bar / restaurant on Achill Island.

    He says it's unfair on those in the food business, who now have to lay off staff again and also have to try and cancel orders for stock, ahead of what should be a busy week up to the New Year.

    Speaking with Midwest News, Alan Gielty says the announcement by the Taoiseach yesterday that restaurants and food pubs have to close at 3pm tomorrow, was a devastating blow.

    He's also concerned about unregulated drinking in homes and other environments, due to the below-cost selling of alcohol.


  • The Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) is asking landlords to meet with their tenants and come to a mutual agreement about rent payments during the enforced closure of pubs across the country.

    A significant number of pubs are run by publicans who are renting the premises from landlords.

    With the Government order last week to shut all pubs to combat the spread of Covid-19, publicans are experiencing huge financial strain.

    The VFI says there is a risk that when the crisis ends many pubs will be unable to reopen.

    VFI Chief Executive Padraig Cribben states: “Since the enforced shutdown we have worked with the banks, TV subscription services, drink suppliers and other suppliers to come to an agreement about forbearance and payment suspension for the coming months. The clear majority, understanding the crisis pubs are facing, have made meaningful efforts to accommodate our members.

    “We need landlords to exercise the same understanding because there is little point in demanding money that isn’t there. We need to work together to get through the current crisis. The relationships we strengthen now through mutually acceptable agreements will make the return to normal trading easier for all.”

  • The Vintners' Federation of Ireland have strongly criticised the Government for "abandoning rural communities."

    Their comments come following changes to the drink-driving legislation, introduced last October.

    They say there hasn't been thought put into providing alternative transport solutions for rural communities.

    The organisation are holding their AGM in Cork later today.

    Chief Executive of the VFI Padraig Cribben says in the absence of meaningful transport solutions, they'd like to see the introduction of a limited licence for people convicted of drink driving.

  • The Vintners’ Federation of Ireland has welcomed the news that commercial rates will be suspended while pubs are closed during the Covid-19 crisis.

    VFI Chief Executive Padraig Cribben says the commitment from government to suspend commercial rates for pubs for the duration of the crisis is welcome news for the sector, which has already been closed for almost five weeks.

    Mr. Cribbin says commercial rates are a significant annual expense so this decision will help ease the pressure on publicans.

    He says this is a good start but publicans will need government to introduce a suite of business supports if the sector is to remain viable.