Nolan: ‘Rural pubs will need grants – if they’re to have a future at all’

The government decision that will “force rural pubs to remained closed” until at least August 10, has been criticised by independent TD Carol Nolan, who has called for grants to assist with the delayed re-opening process.

The TD for Laois-Offaly was speaking after it was announced that almost 3,500 pubs are to be included in the delayed entry into phase four that forms part of the roadmap to reopen the country.

Commenting, deputy Nolan said: “The shock decision taken by government has left publicans, and rural publicans in particular, absolutely furious.

There has been an appalling lack of consultation with the publicans and the vintners on this matter and this has only added to the extreme stress that many of them are experiencing.

“We know that there are 73 pubs in Offaly and 61 in Laois that will be affected by this decision.

“It is just not fair or right to have brought these businesses practically to the point of re-opening only to have the door slammed in their faces with a totally unexpected announcement.

“Up to last week the vintners’ association was still calling for government guidelines on re-opening as part of the supports they will need to adapt their businesses to ensure they comply with the public health requirements.

At this point however, what the rural pubs will need, if they are to have future at all, is grants. I am hearing of grants being needed in the region of €20,000-€50,000.

“The government must respect the fact that the vast majority of publicans have acted completely responsibly during this crisis.

“That sense of solidarity however is not being reciprocated which is a huge shame and one that the government and our local economies may well come to regret,” deputy Nolan concluded.