Calls made for greater support for ’embattled pubs’

Calls have been made by Aontú for greater protections and support for pubs as the “country remains in lockdown and incomes remain non-existent”.

Continued lockdowns have hit rural pubs hard over the past year.

Making the calls, Aontú leader Peadar Tóibín said: “It’s disgraceful that, nearly a year into the Covid-19 pandemic, businesses are having to sue to get their businesses covered by their insurance.

“Insurance companies have been turning over increasing profits these past couple of years, and failure to pay-out for clients is nothing more than profit protection.”

Claiming that, in 2017, profits for the sector stood at €227 million with increasing premiums and decreasing claims, deputy Tóibín said:

Unforeseen reasons for a break in trading are exactly the situation people take out insurance for, for insurance firms to dispute that fact is disgraceful.

“At a time of devastation of profits and absence of government supports, pubs, restaurants and other small businesses are being forced to take their own insurance providers to court over failure to make payments.

“The High Court ruled last week that FBD’s Insurance Policy covered losses by four pubs and that payments should be made,” he noted.

“Presently, 12 insurance providers have been warned by 423 businesses to make interim payments or face similar High Court action.

There is thought to be at least another 140 businesses who could also make a claim. These businesses are entitled to their losses being covered by their insurance providers.

“The government needs to step in and stop this stiff-arming of businesses by the insurance sector.

“Premiums are paid and policies taken out days to cover events like those of the past few months, failure to receive compensation makes a sham of the entire sector and premise,” the Aontú leader concluded.