Longford's pub industry could re-open in weeks, says local publican

Valentine calls on government chiefs to provide greater support and clarity to hard-pressed pubs

Iconic Longford bar Edward J Valentine's closing in response to coronavirus crisis

Eddie Valentine outside his bar in Longford town Picture: Michelle Ghee

Longford's pub trade could be up and running again by the end of the month, according to one of the county's most well known and distinguished of publicans.

Eddie Valentine said it was his belief the re-opening of pubs could coincide with the return of schools at the end of the month but called on the Government and HSE officials to provide greater transparency to so-called 'wet pubs' who have been closed for the best part of five months.

The comments came as vintners groups heaped further pressure on Leinster House decision makers to provide a strong support package for pubs who are unable to open due to the public health circumstances.

Mr Valentine said while it was his personal view pubs that don't serve food may be given the green light to re-open at the end of August, ongoing speculation and conjecture over those plans was not helping license holders.

"I think they might go ahead and re-open them on August 31," he said.

"But then again, maybe the HSE are trying to get rid of the pubs, I don't know. Do they want us to all serve food and put kitchens in?

"Tell us what they want but don't play games and keep us thinking that we are opening on a certain date and then all of a sudden pull the rug from under us."

Mr Valentine was also scathing in his criticism of the apparent lack of action and financial assistance which has come the way of pubs like his own which is now facing into its six month of inaction.

"It's alright for those that are up in the Dáil and getting their pay cheque at the end of the week," he stormed.

"No one has pulled the rug from under their feet and lost everything. Like there are still bills to be paid like electricity and insurance and I have had stock in that all has to go back now."

That said, Mr Valentine reiterated his previous depiction of the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, describing it as a "war which is not over" as he called on the wider public to continue to adhere to the health and safety guidelines handed down by Department of Health officials.

"We have come this far and there is no point kicking the horse in the teeth now," he said.

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