21.2% Of Irish Pubs Closed Between 2005 And 2011, Says DIGI

By Dave Simpson
21.2% Of Irish Pubs Closed Between 2005 And 2011, Says DIGI

A new report from the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI) titled "The Irish Pub: Stopping the Decline report" states that there was a 21.2% (1,829) decrease in the number of Irish pubs between 2005 and 2021.


According to a statement published on, the report's data is based on DIGI's analysis of revenue license data and includes an economic and social analysis by Dublin City University (DCU) Associate Professor Emeritus and economist Anthony Foley.

All 26 counties experienced decreases in pub numbers during the 16 year period, with the largest decrease being in Laois, where there are 30.6% less pubs since 2005, according to the statement published on, which noted that this was the only county with a decrease of 30% or more, and the lowest decrease was in Meath with 1.4% less pubs, followed by Dublin, with a decrease of 4.3%, while the remaining 23 counties had decreases of over 10%.

Three counties - Carlow (10.4%), Kildare (13.6%) and Wicklow (10.1%) - had decreases of between 10% and 14.9%, while Cavan (17.2%), Kerry (15.3), Kilkenny (18.1%), Monaghan (19.8%) and Wexford (17.2%) were in the 15% to 19.9% decrease bracket and the remaining counties had decreases of over 20%, according to the statement published on, which also noted that six counties - Clare (24.7%), Galway (20.6%), Louth (20.3%), Sligo (24%), Waterford (23.5%) and Westmeath (24.4%) - were in the 20% to 24.9% decrease band, wand nine counties - Cork (28.5%), Donegal (26.3%), Leitrim (26.4%), Limerick (29.1%), Longford (25.7%), Mayo (25.1%), Offaly (29.9%), Roscommon (28.3%) and Tipperary (26.3%) - experienced decreases of between 25% and 29.9%.

Statement By DIGI Member And VFI CEO

The statement published on included a statement from DIGI member and Vintners' Federation of Ireland (VFI) CEO Paul Clancy that said, "1,829 rural pub closures represent businesses that provide jobs, a hub in the local community for socialising and community integration and a cultural centre which has long been documented as among the main attractions for tourists visiting Ireland. The pace of decline increased as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic which saw the drinks and hospitality industry suffer the worst of all, with one of the longest lockdowns recorded globally.


"Considering this sharp decline and trend we're witnessing, we need to monitor this industry carefully and ensure all the necessary supports are in place to contribute to stopping this trend. 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 fortens of thousands of business owners."

Statement By DIGI Chair

The statement published on included a statement from DIGI chair and Irish Distillers communications and corporate affairs director Kathryn D'Arcy that said, "The Irish pub has been in a steady decline for years, and these stark figures once again highlight the need to secure the sustainable future of our pubs. Central to this is introducing policy measures which can make both an immediate difference and a long-term impact in terms of delivering sustainable policy to support these businesses. DIGI is seeking a reduction in Ireland’s high excise tax rate which would deliver on this."

Statement By Foley

The statement published on also included a statement from economist and Associate Professor Emeritus, DCU, Anthony Foley that said, "There is likely to be a negative social impact arising from the closure of the 1,829 public houses between 2005 and 2021. 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. 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."

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