PUBLICANS have criticised government austerity measures, which they said are crippling consumer spending and contributing to the loss of 38 jobs a week in pubs.
But they also want higher drink prices through the introduction of minimum prices for alcohol.
The Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) passed an emergency motion at their AGM in Trim, Co Meath, yesterday opposing "the extreme austerity measures" being implemented by the Government.
"People either have no money or are afraid to spend and the Government cannot take any more money out of people's already shallow pockets," said VFI president Gerry Rafter.
The VFI also demanded that the Government stop stalling on the introduction of new controls on the sale, promotion and supply of alcohol.
This would include minimum pricing for alcohol and safer sale and supply of it, but even though junior health ministers Alex White and his predecessor Roisin Shortall had both supported it, as did health professionals and the public, there had been no movement.
The VFI said 50,000 people were employed in pubs, but some 6,000 jobs had been lost since 2009 and 1,300 pubs had shut their doors since 2005.
The VFI represents around 4,200 pubs outside Dublin.