DCSIMG

Time for publicans to ‘get creative’

Mick Reilly from the Castle Inn (Newtownforbes), Longford VFI Chairperson John Duignan from the Tally Ho (Longford), VFI National President Gerry Rafter, Milo Reilly from Milos (Longford), Mary Nally from Ronnies Bar (Ballymahon), and Paul Fay from Fays Bar (Granard). Photo: Michelle Ghee. www.gphotos.ie

Mick Reilly from the Castle Inn (Newtownforbes), Longford VFI Chairperson John Duignan from the Tally Ho (Longford), VFI National President Gerry Rafter, Milo Reilly from Milos (Longford), Mary Nally from Ronnies Bar (Ballymahon), and Paul Fay from Fays Bar (Granard). Photo: Michelle Ghee. www.gphotos.ie

Publicans from across the county met last week for the AGM of the Longford branch of the Vintners Federation of Ireland.

Held in the Market Bar on Tuesday, February 18, there was a good turnout for the annual meeting, and the VFI’s National President, Gerry Rafter, was in attendance.

“Around 50 per cent of our members attended, which is above the national average,” local VFI branch chairperson John Duignan told the Longford Leader.

“Gerry Rafter addressed the meeting and said he understood the frustration vintners are experiencing. He told us that turnover across the country is down an average of 25 per cent.”

Mr Duignan explained that Gerry Rafter’s comments came after he returned from Brussels, where he met with English, Welsh and Scottish publicans to discuss common problems in the trade.

One of those problems is a change in consumption trends, which has seen an increasing number of people choosing to drink at home.

“Publicans are no longer competing with each other,” Mr Duignan claimed. “We’re competing with multi-national supermarket chains.”

Another stumbling block identified at the meeting is the issue of commercial rates, which are stretching the finances of some businesses to the limit.

“There is a commission reviewing rates at present. It started in Waterford and has resulted in a significant reduction in rates there,” Mr Duignan continued.

“It’s moving on to Limerick next but the whole process could take up to four or five years to complete and we have no idea when Longford will be reviewed.”

Speaking personally, Mr Duignan went on to say he was disappointed to see the closure of PV’s Bar: “No pub wants to see another pub closing. It’s very sad to see PV’s closing and sad for all the staff who lost their jobs.”

Mr Duignan concluded by saying that publicans need to be proactive in the current climate.

“We have to be more creative,” he said. “If nothing’s happening, we’ve got to make something happen. We have to let people know they don’t have to go the whole hog, either; If they want, they can go out, watch the match and just have a pint or two.”

 

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