The number of Mayo pubs fell by nearly 100 between 2005 and 2018, according to figures released by the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI). The Mayo pub population fell by 21 percent, with 98 pubs in the county closing their doors for the final time in that period.
Analysis by the DIGI shows that 1,535 rural pubs – 20 percent of the total – closed between 2005 and 2018, compared to just 1 percent in Dublin. Mayo was one of the worst affected counties for pub closures in that period. Only Cork (on 25.6 percent) and Tipperary (22.5 percent) saw more.
The DIGI claims that despite the difficulties facing publicans, the drinks and hospitality sector in Mayo generates 4,095 jobs and €184 million in tourism spend.
It also said that the ‘extremely high’ cost of alcohol excise tax puts rural pubs in a precarious position and limits their ability to trade more successfully, and it is calling on the Government to reduce alcohol excise tax by 15 percent over the next two years.
Padraig Cribben, DIGI member and CEO at the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland, said that the number of pub closures in rural areas was very worrying.
“The number of rural pubs is down 20 percent in the period from 2005 to 2018, which is hugely worrying. This equates to 1,535 rural pubs, which are businesses that provide jobs, a hub in the local community for socialising and community integration, and a cultural powerhouse, which is among the main attractions for tourists visiting Ireland.
“Considering this sharp decline in the number of pubs, we need to monitor this industry and ensure the necessary supports are in place to reverse this trend. 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.
“Our high alcohol excise tax slows the growth of these businesses and impacts their day-to-day operations and bottom line. We are calling on the Government to reduce excise tax to encourage the growth of our drinks and hospitality sector, return money to Irish consumers and make Ireland more competitive internationally, particularly ahead of a no-deal deal Brexit,” he said.
Research conducted by Amárach Research found that when international relatives visit Ireland more than half of Irish people bring visitors to their local pub.