More than 70pc of publicans want the government to introduce a minimum price for alcohol to help pubs hurt by competition from cheaper off-licences, according to a new survey.
The survey, conducted ahead to a meeting of rural vintners, also found that almost two in five publicans had to let staff go in the first three months of the year, the Vintners Federation of Ireland said today.
“It is clear that members are doing all they can to stay open but feel neglected by the present administration in their fight,” the publican lobby group said ahead of its annual conference which begins tomorrow.
The Revenue Commissioners said recently that 150 pubs closed their doors last year.
The lobby group added that half of VFI members sponsor local sports teams with an average donation of €1,726 which suggests that vintners spend €3.5m every year on local projects and activities.
While 39pc of VFI members reduced staffing levels in the first three months of 2013, a survey also found that 8pc increased staffing levels. For 62pc of VFI members business has been slow and turnover down while 9pc recorded a pick-up.
“Unfortunately we find ourselves in a very similar situation to this time 12 months ago with further pub closures and job losses casting a long shadow over our AGM,” said VFI president Gerry Rafter. “While we wait for the Government to realise the danger that over 50,000 jobs are in, I think it is time that we started to shout about the positive contribution the Irish pub has made and continues to make to Irish society and in particular rural communities.