One in Four Pubs in Northern Ireland Under 'Significant Financial Distress'
A report carried out by UK insolvency practitioner Begbies Traynor has revealed that one in four pubs in Northern Ireland were operating under "significant financial distress" and struggling to remain open.
Last year, Northern Ireland saw 25 pubs close, while in the first half of 2016 has already seen a further 19 pubs shut their doors, reports The Belfast Telegraph.
Even the supposed oldest pub in Ireland, 'Grace Neill's', which is said to have opened in 1611, had to close last year before being re-opened under new management. One leading hospitality voice described the situation as being a battle every day, particularly for rural and small town businesses.
During the three month period between April and June there was a total of 64 pubs in financial distress and that the proportion of businesses struggling was up five per cent compared to the same period last year.
Colin Neill, the chief executive of Hospitality Ulster, which represents pubs there, said: "Costs are rising for pub owners. Rates are becoming a major burden – they're tired to turnover, so when your turnover goes up, your rates go up, as do licenses for Sky and BT Sport. Often these pubs are something that has been in the family for several generations, and there's a real feeling of guilt about letting that go."
Although Neill added that the weakening pound could provide relief for pubs in border areas due to trade from day-trippers.