Saturday 24 August 2019

'The situation has claimed the livelihoods of many' - Well-known bar closes over hikes in insurance

Mooneys on the Quay Photo: Google Maps
Mooneys on the Quay Photo: Google Maps
Owners of the popular Mooneys on the Quay said rising insurance premiums had made the “entertainment industry practically unsustainable”. Stock Image
Amy Molloy

Amy Molloy

The nightlife industry has been dealt another blow following the closure of a well-known bar in Co Wexford due to spiralling insurance costs.

Owners of the popular Mooneys on the Quay blasted how insurance has made the “entertainment industry practically unsustainable”.

News of the late night venue closing down was met with sadness by punters, with many taking to social media to share fond memories from over the years.

In a statement criticising the Government dragging its heels on insurance reform, Mooneys said it is getting to the stage where you “will have to travel to New York to find a traditional Irish pub” as the bar scene continues to be decimated by hikes in insurance premiums.

"There is hardly anyone in Wexford that hasn’t frequented Mooneys at some stage in their life, so it is with a sad and heavy heart that, due to circumstances completely beyond our control, we have been forced to close the doors on our historic venue for the last time.

"There are no signs of the ‘powers that be’ bringing the insurance industry under control anytime soon. Couple this with highly exorbitant rates and the situation has unfortunately claimed the livelihoods of many Wexford people over the over the past number of years.

"In the not too distant future, this country will lament the culture that has made us world famous. The most recent changes to drinking legislation should not have proceeded without some form of transportation like an Uber taxi-style system for regions where there is no meaningful public transport system.”

The Vintners Federation of Ireland  (VFI) – a trade organisation for pubs outside the greater Dublin area – said a recent survey showed 77pc of publicans with no claims in five years have been hit with premium increases of 40pc.

VFI CEO Padraig Cribben says members are experiencing dramatic increases that are unsustainable.

“The reluctance of insurance companies to properly and fully defend cases and a willingness of the legal profession to take on spurious cases and to substantially reward themselves for doing so is part of the problem.

“The system is loaded against business owners to such an extent that many good businesses are going under due to the pressure.”

Figures released last year showed there were 1,477 fewer pubs in Ireland than there were in 2005 – a rate of two closures every week.

A former nightclub owner in Co Tipperary told how he had to close down his business because he couldn't afford the insurance costs after a string of compensation claims by customers. The 58-year-old, who owned a club that had been in his family for 120 years, shut the club down in the summer of 2016 as it was costing him €35,000 to insure the premises each year.

Irish Independent

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