McDonald’s Irish restaurants to close on Monday due to coronavirus

Move a big blow to beef sector, says IFA, as all outlets in Ireland and UK to shut

All McDonald's restaurants in the UK and Ireland will close by 7pm on Monday to protect the safety of its employees and customers, the company has said.

The move is a big blow to the beef sector in Ireland, according to the Irish Farmers’ Association.

The fast-food company, which has 135,000 employees in the UK and Ireland, said it has taken the “difficult decision” in a statement posted to Twitter – adding that stores will close by that time on Monday “at the latest”.

The decision comes after British prime minister Boris Johnson called for pubs, clubs and restaurants to shut on Friday, although he stressed they could continue with a takeaway service.


“This is not a decision we are taking lightly, but one made with the wellbeing and safety of our employees in mind as well as in the best interests of our customers,” McDonald’s said.

“We look forward to seeing you all again as soon as it is safe for us to reopen.”

‘Important buyer’

In a statement, the IFA said: “McDonald’s is an important buyer of Irish beef. Their closure is a big blow to the sector.

"Unfortunately, it is reflective of what is happening across Europe, where closures have had an impact on the food service sector. However, some of this has been mitigated by an increase in retail demand."

The IFA said its president Tim Cullinan wrote to European Commissioner for Agriculture Janusz Wojciechowski last week noting the commission needed to stand ready to support the EU beef market after the impact of Covid-19. "The Irish beef price is already well below the cost of production for farmers. They cannot sustain any further cuts," he said.

Paul Pomroy, chief executive of McDonald's UK & Ireland, said: "Over the last 24 hours, it has become clear that maintaining safe social distancing whilst operating busy takeaway and drive-thru restaurants is increasingly difficult." – PA