Some 7,000 jobs 'lost in bar trade'

 

Up to 7,000 jobs were lost in the bar trade last year on the back of a dramatic fall-off in sales, according to a report by the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (Digi).

The group said on-license trade had suffered an overall decline of 25 per cent in the past three years, including a 10 per cent reduction in 2010 alone.

Digi warned that pubs, bars, restaurants, hotels and nightclubs could not sustain further losses on this scale.

Hundreds and thousands of jobs, businesses, and livelihoods were in jeopardy in all parts of the employment-intensive on-trade throughout Ireland it claimed.

The group has called on the Government to introduce a package of measures to support the “employment-intensive” licensed trade following what it described as a disastrous performance for the sector in 2010.

The secretary of Digi, Donall O’Keeffe, said: “2010 was yet another disastrous year of free-fall for Irish pubs and bars.”

“With prospects for the on-licensed drinks market for the remainder of the year extremely weak, the trend of closures and redundancies will continue unless action is taken,” he said.

Mr O’Keeffe said the Government’s jobs initiative, due to the published tomorrow, represented an opportunity to introduce a series of measures, alongside the planned reduction in the lower rates of VAT and PRSI, to support the hospitality sector.

He called a 20 per cent reduction in commercial rates and other local authority charges by and a new system of determining ratable valuations.

Digi also wants to see a ban on below cost selling of alcohol and the end of the Joint Labour Committee system for setting wages.

“The Government’s role in boosting confidence and facilitating consumer spending is absolutely critical. These measures combined with their jobs initiative as a whole, will boost morale and help to build confidence among consumers, the hospitality trade, and the tourism sector, “Mr O’Keeffe said.

“Tourism, in particular, has been identified as key to economic recovery. The drinks industry plays a major role in our tourism infrastructure through visitor centres, pubs, bars, and restaurants in providing places for visitors to eat, drink and enjoy a uniquely Irish experience. These measures would also help promote the image of Ireland as an affordable destination for tourists, “ he said.