Tuesday, 18th September 2018
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There were 41 less pubs in Waterford and overall 1,477 less pubs in Ireland last year than in 2005, representing a 17.1% drop in businesses across the country, according to the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI).

Readers will have fond memories of T&H Doolan's, The Olde Stand, Egans and The Showboat in Waterford City, and many more across the city and county that sadly are no more.

"In Waterford alone, hospitality and drinks businesses enable 5,260 jobs while in Donegal, there are 368 pubs and 7,445 jobs supported by the industry, Padraig Cribben, Chief Executive Officer, Vintners' Federation of Ireland and member of DIGI said.

"This demonstrates the scale of employment that this sector creates rurally. "However, the sharp decline in the number of pubs is worrying and is further evidence of the need to monitor the industry and ensure the necessary supports are in place to reverse this trend." In 2017, there were 7,140 pubs nationwide a decline from 8,617 in 2005. The figures are based on an analysis of the liquor licence figures published by Revenue - which tracks the number of premises that have publican's licences (seve-day licences that allow the sale of beer, wine and spirits to be consumed on-site). Rural counties saw the most significant drop in pubs, which serve as a major source of employment regionally. In 2005, there were 7,831 pubs in Ireland outside of Dublin.

In 2017, that number dropped by 18.7% to 6,367. In contrast to publican's licences, off licences saw an increase of 11.8% since 2005. 3,331 premises registered an off licence in 2017, compared to 2,966 in 2005. Licences for wine-only bars and restaurants were also up 3.1% since 2005. In total, there were 866 fewer liquor licences registered in Ireland in 2017 than in 2005 a decrease of 5.6%. More than 90,000 jobs across the country are dependent on the drinks industry alone. The industry purchases over €1.1bn of Irish produce annually, exports goods worth over €1.25bn, and provides over €2.3bn worth of excise and VAT income to the state.

According to the DIGI report Ireland's Hospitality and Drinks Sector and Your Constituency authored by DCU economist Anthony Foley and published last year, Waterford hospitality and drinks businesses enable 5,260 jobs and generate €138m for tourism economy. "While the Government committed to assist small rural businesses recover during the recession, business owners in the drinks industry were challenged by two increases in alcohol excise tax in Budget 2012 and Budget 2013, Mr Cribben added. "Our punitive alcohol excise tax the second highest in the EU slows the growth of these businesses."

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