The Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) has said that it utterly condemns the drinking on city streets that took place in Dublin during the weekend of July 4.
The association issued a statement saying, "This is in no way acceptable and completely jeopardises public health, given the lack of social distancing observed.
"Unfortunately, scenes like this have been taking place over the last few weekends in Dublin city centre. We are reminding pubs who are serving takeout of their responsibilities. Legal advice issued by the Gardaí in May said that any drinks purchased as takeaways must be consumed more than 100 metres from the pub which sold the alcohol. The advice also indicated the Gardaí have the power to confiscate drink being consumed on the road or in a public place.
"We are also aware that members of the public are bringing alcohol purchased from off-licences with them to these locations. Such drinking in public spaces presents a terrible image of our city centre. It is potentially extremely damaging to public health. It also has a negative impact on the efforts being made by responsible businesses who are beginning the process of recovery.
"The LVA fully supports measures being taken by the Gardaí to manage these issues.
"Separately, we would also like to recognise the many pubs across Dublin who have traded responsibly this weekend and since reopening last Monday [June 29]. Most pubs and most customers are following the reopening guidelines. We welcome and fully endorse the active Garda inspection operation to ensure compliance with the reopening guidelines. We have received reports that many pubs in Dublin have received a positive response following on from Garda inspections undertaken over the past few days."
"Protect Our Pubs" Campaign
The above statement was issued as the LVA, the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) and Drinks Ireland launched a new campaign called "Protect our Pubs", the purpose of which is to highlight the social and cultural role that the drinks and hospitality industries play in communities.
The campaign's launch is a direct follow-up to the three organisations' announcement last week that they want the government to temporarily reduce the hospitality sector VAT rate and extend it to apply to alcohol sales in pubs and bars until December 31, 2020, a move that the organisations said would provide pubs with immediate and tangible support to deal with the increased costs of reopening and to maintain jobs until trade picks up again.
The organisations stated that, according to DCU economist Anthony Foley, such a move would cost €143 million to implement, and would bring Ireland in line with other EU countries, which are using temporary reductions in VAT to provide immediate support to their drinks, hospitality and tourism businesses in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis.
According to the three organisations, without significant financial supports, some pub businesses are at risk of permanent closure as a result of COVID-19-related new operational requirements, and, through the "Protect our Pubs" campaign, the organisations are calling on the new government to protect pub businesses that are at risk.
"A Devastating Impact"
VFI chief executive Padraig Cribben stated, "The COVID-19 crisis has had a devastating impact on Ireland's drinks and hospitality industry. The financial burden on pubs as they adapt to the new measures of social distancing, reduced capacity, expenditure on perspex screens and PPE is significant. For many, it will be too much and they won't be in a position to re-open on 20 July...'Protect our Pubs' is a reminder to us all of the value of our local pub and a direct call to the new government to support them to get back on their feet."
Meanwhile, LVA CEO Donall O'Keeffe commented, "We have had to completely change our business model, and the VAT model should change to reflect our new reality. Public support for our campaign to protect Ireland's pubs is crucial to ensure that the government understands the gravity of the situation our industry is in."
Drinks Ireland director Patricia Callan added, "A reduction and extension of the hospitality VAT rate to on-trade alcohol sales would tangibly deliver for the industry. Equally, it is in line the minister for finance's ambition for measures in the July stimulus programme to have an immediate impact and effect in 2020."
© 2020 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.