Number of pubs decreases by 1,400 in Ireland

(Yui Mok / PA)
(Yui Mok / PA)

Last year there were 1,477 fewer pubs in Ireland than in 2005 – a percentage of two closures per week.

The decline of 17.1% in companies across the country means that there are 7,140 national pubs – a drop of 8,617 in 2005, according to the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (Digi).

Every county in Ireland has suffered from the decline in the last 12 years, with Cork experiencing the biggest loss with a 25% drop.

Meanwhile, the number of off-licenses has increased by 11.8% since 2005.

Representing a trend shift, the number of wine-only bars and restaurants increased by 3.1%.

The figures, based on an analysis of the liquor license figures published by Revenue, show that the provinces in the countryside saw the largest decline in pubs, which act regionally as an important source of employment.

In 2005 there were 7,831 pubs in Ireland outside Dublin. In 2017, that number fell by 18.7% to 6,367.

Wexford, Meath and Dublin saw the smallest decline in government permits. Wexford pubs dropped from 158 to 157, while Meath was in three pubs from 210 to 207.

In 2017, 773 pubs were registered in Dublin city and county – only 1.7% lower than in 786 in 2005.

The number of pubs in Dublin is 4.7% higher in 2017 than in 2012 – the lowest year for the number of pubs in Dublin.

Padraig Cribben, chief executive officer of the Vintners & Federation of Ireland said that the reduction in the number of pubs is "worrying".

"These pubs are small businesses, mainly in the Irish countryside, which offer a lot of employment and continue to create jobs in local communities," he said.

"In Mayo alone, catering and beverage companies account for 4,095 jobs, while in Donegal 368 cafés and 7,445 jobs are supported by the industry.

"This shows the scale of employment that this sector creates nationwide.

"However, the sharp decline in the number of cafes is worrying and further evidence of the need to monitor the sector and to ensure that the necessary support is available to reverse this trend.

"While the government was committed to helping small rural businesses recover during the recession, entrepreneurs in the beverage industry were challenged by two increases in alcohol taxes in budget 2012 and budget 2013.

"Our tax on alcohol taxes – the second highest in the EU – slows the growth of these companies and affects their daily activities and turnover."

About 90,000 jobs across the country depend solely on the beverage industry. The sector buys more than 1.1 billion Irish products annually, exports goods with a value of more than 1.25 billion euros and offers more than 2.3 billion euros in excise duties and VAT revenues to the state.

Digi said that it is calling on the government to lower the country's high rate of excise duty.

Press Association

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