Minister Launches 'Pubs As Community Hubs' Initiative

By Dave Simpson
Minister Launches 'Pubs As Community Hubs' Initiative

Minister for Rural and Community Development Heather Humphreys TD has launched a new initiative called "Pubs As Community Hubs", which is designed to support rural pubs and communities, according to statement published on


According to the statement published on, the initiative is being rolled out on a pilot basis, and it will see financial supports being provided to publicans in rural areas to diversify their facilities for community use.

The initiative is designed to utilise pubs during quiet trading times as the likes of digital hubs, community cinemas, book clubs, arts and crafts workshops and community meeting spaces, according to the statement published on, which also said that €50,000 of funding has been provided to the Vintners' Federation of Ireland (VFI), which will choose five pubs in Cavan, Kerry, Donegal, Clare and Cork as part of the pilot programme.

The statement published on also said that the initiative was a commitment under "Our Rural Future", and it wil be expanded to other parts of the country if the pilot is a success.

Statement By Minister Humphreys

The statement published on included a statement from Minister Humphreys, in which she said, "The local pub is part of the fabric of Rural Ireland. Traditionally down through the years, it's where people in rural communities have come to meet with their friends and neighbours to socialise. In recent years our rural pubs have faced challenges and those challenges were exacerbated further during the pandemic. This new initiative which I am launching today in collaboration with the Vintners' Federation of Ireland is about exploring how the rural pub can be utilised as a space for community activities and services. Often people in rural areas might have to travel many miles to access certain services. In other instances, there may not be a suitable meeting place for local groups to come together for activities. Through the 'Pubs as Community Hubs' initiative, we want to see how rural pubs can diversify during quiet trading times by acting as community cinemas, book clubs and meeting spaces for local community groups."


Minister Humphreys continued, "As part of 'Our Rural Future', I committed to developing a pilot scheme to support the use of rural pubs as community spaces and hubs for local services. A similar concept is already being rolled out in parts of the UK - it sees pubs being utilised as digital hubs, community cafés, arts and crafts workshops, libraries and markets for local food producers. The possibilities are endless, but the goal is simple - supporting our rural pubs so that they can continue to be a focal point in our rural communities where friends and neighbours can gather for a range of services and activities into the future."

Statement By VFI CEO

The statement published on also included a statement from VFI CEO Padraig Cribben, in which he said, "Pubs are a vital part of Irish life but as local communities evolve it’s more important than ever to understand how our pubs can continue to enhance their offering to the villages and towns they serve. The 'Pub As Community Hub' pilot programme is a fantastic opportunity to examine how pubs will thrive in rural localities well into the future so I would like to pay particular thanks to Minister Heather Humphreys, TD, and the Department of Rural and Community Development for the funding that will allow us develop the project. Upon completion these pilot projects will offer a roadmap for our members as they navigate the coming challenges and opportunities faced by the rural hospitality sector."

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