Pubs closures ‘a reflection of what’s happening in rural Ireland, particularly in north west’

There are now more than 160 fewer pub licences in the north west than there were 13 years ago.

The Drinks Industry Group says it’s a stark reminder of the continuing fall in the number of rural pubs.

The Drinks Industry Group is the umbrella organisation for the wider drinks industry in Ireland.

It’s membership includes manufacturers, distributors and retail sectors such as pubs, hotels, restaurants and off-licences.

The group says there are 1,535 fewer pubs in rural Ireland than in 2005, and that 71 rural pubs closed last year.

In 2005 in Donegal, there were 453 pub licences renewed; last year it was 362, a drop of 91.

In Sligo, there were 179 pub licences renewed in 2005 but by last year, there were 37 fewer.

And in Leitrim, the number of pub licences had fallen by 36 in the 13 years.

The Drinks Industry Group says that in the country overall, nearly 20% of rural pubs closed, with forced to shut during the recession.

The group is now calling on the government to ease the burden on rural drinks businesses by reducing alcohol excise tax over the next two years.

Padraig Cribben is a member of the Drinks Industry Group and CEO of the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland.

He spoke earlier to our reporter, Harry Keaney, who put it to him that this is now an ongoing saga, with rural pubs still continuing to close.