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Emigrants boosted pub trade over Christmas

EMIGRANTS flocking to the pubs to catch up with friends and family resulted in more pints being pulled over Christmas and the New Year.

Publicans from throughout the country reported that sales were up this year. However, the figures for the previous year's festive season had fallen because of last winter's big freeze.

Despite the festive boost, publicans cautioned that bars had suffered a drop in overall trade of up to 50pc compared with five years ago.

Gerry Mellett, president of the Vintners' Federation of Ireland (VFI), said: "The reports we got back were that a lot of people came home for Christmas and that stimulated the pub trade a bit.

"But that is going to be gone again as these were people home from England and Australia."

The VFI has warned that it expects up to 5,000 jobs to go in 2012. Mr Mellett said the 2pc VAT increase would hit consumers' pockets.

He added that the low price of alcohol in supermarkets -- with a slab of beer retailing for about €24 over Christmas -- was also having an impact on the pub trade.

Irish Independent