Inset - Aontú leader and Meath West TD, Peadar Tóibín.

Aontú back vintners’ call for pubs to provide outdoor services

Aontú leader and Meath West TD Peadar Tóibín has come out in support of calls from the Licensed Vintners Association for all pubs to be allowed to provide outdoor services from May 24.

An Teachta Tóibín said: “The pub industry has been devastated by Covid-19. Plenty of family-owned pubs that have been hallmarks of their communities for decades have closed up their doors for good. Too many false promises of financial support or reopening have been made by this government.

“Many Pubs, particularly wet pubs, have been closed for 400 days. Ireland has been locked down for far longer than any other EU country.

“The Irish Government is an outlier in terms of the severity and length of time it has closed the workplace – Ireland is locked down a multiple of the length of time of other countries that have similar sickness and death rates.”

An Teachta Tóibín said the public health restrictions are disproportionate.

“Hospital and ICU figures are low, thankfully. This is not January – 1.2 million vaccines have been administered.

“Pubs have been made jump through hoops to satisfy government, from the ‘substantial meal’, to the €9 spend on food with drink, to requirements to keep receipts for government inspection purposes.

“No pubs have been able to open, bar for takeaway services, for the entirety of 2021. This is a sector that employs thousands, contributes millions to our economy, and is a societal lynchpin in rural communities – but they cannot take much more.

“Outdoor dining and beer gardens must be allowed to return. This should be followed with the resumption of indoor services and dining soon after in June. Our communities and businesses cannot be kept in never-ending lockdown.”