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Ireland: Government must act to stop pub closures

Mon 9th May, 2011

The Government should intervene to save Ireland’s pubs, says Forest Eireann, the smoker’s lobby group. The call comes on the back of new data showing a dramatic decline in employment in the pub trade.

John Mallon, spokesman for Forest Eireann, urged the Government to support the drinks industry in its efforts to fight job losses in the pub trade. He said:

“Research last year showed that the smoking ban has made a bigcontribution to pub closures, and this has been compounded by below-cost selling by large retailers, driving customers to the off-trade. These factors are a direct result of legislation and it is therefore within the remit of the Government to address them.”

The new figures, released by the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI), show that 7,000 jobs were lost in the sector, reducing employment to just 50,000.

“It is ironic to think that a smoking ban ostensibly introduced to protect the health of bar staff should be contributing to their loss ofemployment,” Mallon said.

The drinks industry in Ireland contributes €2 billion in tax revenue to the state each year and is responsible for €1.25 billion in exports annually.

“If the Government is willing to allow this business to fail through its own inaction, then perhaps we should ask how it proposes to replace the revenue deficit that must surely follow,” he added.

Source: Forest Eireann (9 May 2011)

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