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'We're devastated' - publicans 'nearly in tears' over decision to keep Dublin pubs closed

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Tom Mulligan, owner of the Cobblestone pub in Smithfield, Dublin

Tom Mulligan, owner of the Cobblestone pub in Smithfield, Dublin

Collins Dublin, Gareth Chaney

Tom Mulligan, owner of the Cobblestone pub in Smithfield, Dublin

The pub industry has accused the Government of breaking its commitment to get venues open again this month.

'Wet' pubs that do not serve food are set to remain closed in Dublin, after the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) advised that Covid-19 cases remain too high in the capital.

The Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) called it an "empty gesture, backed by hollow words from a Government that broke its commitment to non-food pubs again".

Donall O'Keeffe, chief executive of the LVA, said: "Where is the scientific justification for this decision? This isn't a remedy to the increase in infections in Dublin. This has all the hallmarks of wanting to be seen to take action when it does nothing to address the problem.

"But it does have the impact of further penalising publicans, staff, suppliers and all their families. That is the one actual outcome that will come from this decision."

Tom Mulligan, owner of The Cobblestone, said he was left reeling with the unfortunate news that Dublin's wet pubs couldn't reopen next Monday.

"This is our fourth time we've been told we can't open. It's only five days before we were due to reopen that they told us we can't reopen, so we're devastated and frustrated," the owner of the Smithfield venue told the Irish Independent.

"I can't understand how eating a €9 sandwich would make it any safer to avoid Covid than somebody drinking a pint of beer. It doesn't really make any sense."

Daniel Smith, of Grogans pub in Dublin, said: "We are disgusted, upset, angry. This Government has shown time and time again that they don't care about us."

Mr Smith told RTÉ's Liveline that publicans had been told they wouldn't be treated differently with regard to restrictions, only to receive the closure news for the fourth time during the pandemic.

Noel Anderson, of the Lemon and Duke bar in Dublin, said: "I've had a number of publicans nearly in tears. This is the fourth time they've been led up the hill."

Irish Independent