The cork pub trade has fallen by almost 30% since 2005; nearly 400 pubs have closed across the city and county

A TOTAL of 384 pubs have closed in Cork since 2005, marking a 28.5% drop in trade, and an industry spokesman has warned that unless the government reduces excise duties, many other hostels are in danger of closing their doors permanently.

A new report from the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (Digi) shows a nationwide drop of 21.2% in the number of pubs doing business nationwide in the 16 years to 2021.

The Irish Pub: Stopping the Decline report says 1,829 pubs were closed across the country between 2005 and 2021.

In Cork City and County, 384 pubs closed during this period, down from 1,221 to 873, a drop of 28.5%.

Michael O’Donovan, owner of the Castle Inn and Cork City and county chairman of the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI), has urged the government to cut excise duty by 7.5% in the next budget.


“We are facing a perfect storm with rising energy costs and customers not having as much disposable income, so we are asking the government to help us by reducing excise duty in the next 7 .5%,” O’Donovan said.

“Ireland has the second highest rate of excise duty in the EU, and the reduction in excise duty we are asking the government for would give publicans some extra money to weather the storm coming this winter with the costs energy, and it would help protect pubs and give them a fighting chance to help them through this crisis.

Mr O’Donovan said that without excise duty cuts many more pubs would be forced to close permanently. “There is a real fear that if the government does not intervene we will see more names join the list of closed pubs, and a further decline in pub stock across the country, and particularly here in Cork,” said he declared. said.

The Digi report reveals that all 26 counties saw a fall in the number of pubs over the 16-year period covered, with the biggest fall seen in Laois, which now has 30.6% fewer pubs than in 2005 .

Michael O'Donovan of the Castle Inn on Main Street South.  Photo: Eddie O’Hare
Michael O’Donovan of the Castle Inn on Main Street South. Photo: Eddie O’Hare

The smallest drop was recorded in Meath, which saw a drop of 1.4%, followed by Dublin, which saw a drop of 4.3%.

Some 349 pubs have closed in Ireland since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, marking a national drop of 4.9%

In Cork City and County, 37 closed during this period, representing a decline of 4.1%.

Paul Clancy, Digi Fellow and Managing Director of VFI, called the report “alarming”.

“The closures of 1,829 pubs represent businesses that provide jobs, a hub in the local community for socializing and community integration, and a cultural center that has long been documented as one of the main attractions for tourists. visiting Ireland,” Mr Clancy said.

“The pace of decline has accelerated following the Covid-19 pandemic which has seen the beverage and hospitality industry suffer the worst of all, with one of the longest lockdowns on record in the world. .”

Mr Clancy said that given the sharp decline in pubs, there was an urgent need to carefully monitor the industry and ensure that all necessary supports are in place to help halt this trend. “Our high alcohol excise tax is a cost, slowing the growth of these businesses and impacting their day-to-day operations and bottom line.

“We are calling on the government to reduce the excise tax to support the industry with meaningful measures that will be felt immediately and reduce costs overnight for tens of thousands of business owners.”

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