The Breffni Inn, at Cavan Town's Egg Market is just one of 38 Cavan bars to close between 2005-2021.

Last orders called in 38 Cavan bars

EXCISE TAX Decrease in bars nationwide highlighted ahead of budget

According to industry figures, the number of pubs in County Cavan has decreased by 17.2% since the height of the Celtic Tiger.

In total 38 bars in Cavan have closed between 2005 and 2021, including 11 closures over the pandemic period.

Nationally the figures make for even worse reading. Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI) analysis showed that 1,829 pubs closed between 2005 and 2021 - one in five of all bars (21.2%), and every single county in the Republic registered a decrease in that period.

Of those closures, 4.9% (349) of pubs nationally closed during the pandemic period 2019-2021. Laois most affected reporting a 30.6% decline, while Meath suffered the least with a mere 1.4% decline.

DIGI calls on Government to ease the cost burden on rural drinks businesses to ensure their sustainability by reducing Ireland’s high alcohol excise tax over the next two years

The report highlights that many public houses operate at relatively low levels of sales volume. One of the factors which influence business sustainability at these low sales volumes, which is within the control of the Government, is the high Irish alcohol excise level which represents a significant cost on the business.

CEO of the Vintners Federation of Ireland, Paul Clancy described the report as ‘alarming.’

“Our high alcohol excise tax is a cost and slows the growth of these businesses and impacts their day-to-day operations and bottom line. Exasperated currently with inflation and the cost of living, we are calling on the Government to reduce excise tax to support the industry with meaningful measures that will be felt immediately and reduce costs over night for tens of thousands of business owners,” said Mr Clancy.

Meanwhile economist and Associate Professor Emeritus, DCU Anthony Foley notes that the closure of so many pubs "is likely" to have a "negative social impact".

"Pubs serve as a vital social outlet for many people, particularly in rural Ireland. With people living there faced by the spectre of rural decline, preserving the cultural heritage of the Irish pub in Ireland is arguably a progressive course of action," said Mr Foley. "Economic and business sustainability is one of the several determining factors of closures of small public houses. Addressing high excise would have a positive effect on the commercial sustainability of small public houses and would be a strong element in the wider policy strategy to support rural areas. It is a measure which is completely within the scope of Government.”