• An Achill publican does not believe it will be feasible for many pubs in rural Ireland to reopen in June, under proposals being put forward by representatives of the pub trade.

    The Vintners Federation of Ireland and the Licensed Vintners Association are meeting with Government officials this week to push for pubs to be allowed to reopen at the end of June, in line with restaurants and cafés, rather than in August as is currently planned.

    The vintners groups have proposed limiting capacity in pubs to allow for social distancing, operating a table service only and banning live music and DJs.

    However Alan Gielty, Chairman of the Mayo branch of the Vintners Federation of Ireland, says the proposals are not feasible for many pubs, as limiting capacity and hiring extra staff would put further pressure on revenues.

    Mr Gielty, who runs Gielty's Clew Bay Bar & Restaurant in Dooagh, Achill, says the last thing he wants is for pubs to reopen, and have to close again if there's a further wave of coronavirus.

    He says protecting public health is the top priority, and pubs should not open until it's safe to do so.

  • All pubs could be allowed to reopen by the middle of this month.

    The move's set to coincide with the release of the government's new long-term strategy for dealing with Covid-19.

    The government's currently finalising a new set of guidelines on the reopening of all pubs that will include strict regulation and inspection.

    According to the Irish Times, details will be shared with industry representatives over the coming days, with a view to having all pubs operating again by mid-September.

    The move's set to coincide Awith the government's own 'living with Covid' plan which is to be announced in nine days time.

    Meanwhile the Taoiseach says new rules requiring pubs and restaurants to keep a record of food orders for 28 days will protect law-abiding businesses.

    It follows criticism of the measure by pub owners.

    Micheál Martin insists Government has no interest in knowing what people are eating, and there's been an "overreaction" to the new rule.


    The Mayo Chairman of the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland, Alan Gielty, is welcoming the government’s announcement yesterday to support the use of rural pubs as community spaces and hubs for local services.

    A new five-year rural strategy to promote living and working in rural areas, entitled -  ‘Our Rural Future’ was announced by the  Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys.

    Alan says his premises - Gielty’s Bar and Restaurant on Achill Island, like other pubs across the region is already used extensively as a community meeting place and he says it makes sense to establish an arrangement where someone who may not have room or internet in their own home, could set up a workstation for a number of hours in a designated area of a public house served by broadband.

    Alan has been speaking to Midwest News Editor Teresa O’Malley about what is envisaged for the rural pub under this plan...


  • People will be allowed one hour and 45 minutes in pubs once they reopen from June 29th.

    It's part of the finalised guidelines for the sector published last night by Failte Ireland.

    There will be two hours between each booking - with 15 minutes set aside for cleaning after each group.

    The social distancing guidelines will be laxed for the sector with one metre allowed where the two metre requirement isn't possible.

    The person who books the table will have their contact details held by the bar for contact tracing purposes - with clock-in services to be strictly followed throughout opening.

  • Customers may be able to drink at the bar when pubs reopen.

    According to the Irish Independent, Fáilte Ireland will make the recommendation to the government later this week.

    It will publish guidelines for pubs that only serve alcohol.

    Pubs serving food that are currently open don't allow customers to sit at the bar.

  • Government Ministers are reportedly considering allowing pubs to open after level 5, as long as they shut by 10pm.

    The Sunday Times reports that there's a 'political appetite' to open the pubs and restaurants, in an attempt to stop private parties from happening.

    Measures included could mean closing off licences earlier than pubs and limiting the number of customers at a table to just four people.

  • Health Minister Simon Harris says he'll use emergency powers to shut down any pubs that keep trading if they don't shut voluntarily.

    Independent Councillor Ken O'Flynn says he's seen too many pubs trading in Cork in the last week.

    He says publican's behaviour during the pandemic should be considered when their licence is up for renewal.

  • It’s a joke that wet pubs have been forced to remain closed, and they now need to be opened as promised next month. That’s the view of the Mayo Chairman of the Vintners Federation, Achill based Alan Gielty, a publican with a restaurant.

    Alan insists that you cannot compare a pub in Achill, Bonniconlon or Belmullet with a Dublin establishment. But he argues all pubs are being painted with the same brush and that’s unfair.

    He believes that pubs should be allowed to re-open in regions, if necessary, but that pubs are not the reason that the incidents of Covid 19 nationally are on the rise.

    He says the pub is a controlled environment and publicans will ensure the safety of customers in accordance with regulations, and so need to be allowed to open their doors again.

    Like all businesses on Achill Island, Alan has been running a busy business on the island over the past two weeks despite the crisis in the public water supply.

    He told Midwest News this lunchtime that despite the problem with the public supply, there has been adequate tankards of water provided throughout the island for businesses by Mayo County Council and he said they have been able to continue to operate successfully.


    It will be the end of June/ early July at the earliest before any pubs re-open. That’s the view of the Chairman of Mayo Vintners Alan Gielty.

    It’s a year since the country's 7,100 pubs were closed due to the pandemic, and at that time they were told they would be open again at the end of March.

    Mr Gielty, of Gielty’s Bar and Restaurant, Dooagh Achill says the impact of the extended closure of pubs on people’s mental health and the lack of social interaction is having a real impact on rural communities.

    He has also highlighted the cost of shutdown on publicans paying mortgages, where the government subsidy payments, while welcome, are not adequate.

    One year down the line, Alan has been telling Midwest News Editor Teresa O’Malley about the impact on the pub trade…









  • "What are you paying insurance for if you have to contest what it says on your policy?"

    That's the view of the Chairman of the Mayo Vintners Association who has been giving his reaction to yesterday's high court ruling  that four pub owners are entitled to be compensated by FBD Insurance for the disruption their businesses suffered due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

    In a landmark decision, the outcome of which affects claims made by more than 1,000 Irish pubs and restaurants, the judge found that a policy sold by FBD covered losses the pubs sustained by having to close due to the global health emergency.

    Alan Gielty who is an Achill based publican and the Chairman of Mayo VFI says this ruling isn't going to be positive for the majority of publicans.


  • Publicans are warning that the move to level three restrictions will see 50,000 job losses in the sector.

    Only outdoor sittings of 15 people will be allowed as part of the measures.

    No indoor service being allowed will mean many pubs across Mayo and the West will not be able to operate.

    The wet pubs were only allowed to reopen two weeks ago after a 6-month closure.

    Padraig Cribben from the Vintners Federation says that while Level 3 restrictions refer to pubs remaining open, the reality is that the majority will close as outdoor service limited to 15 customers is not viable for many pubs:

  • Indoor trading for publicans appears to be on track to resume by Thursday, July 1st, according to the Mayo Chairman of the Vintners Federation of Ireland, Alan Gielty.

    The Achill based publican is hopeful that pubs can fully reopen serving food and drink, or drink only, in time for the traditional start of the summer tourist season.

    However, he says that while publicans welcome the reopening of pubs for outdoor trading only on 7th June, (two weeks time),  for the vast majority of its rural members running an outdoor-only business is not sustainable.

    From today pubs in the North reopen to serving customers indoors, three weeks after outdoor trading started there.

    Alan who runs Gielty’s Bar and Restaurant in Dooagh Achill says the game changer this Summer is the number of tourists and locals who will be vaccinated.

    He has been telling Midwest News Editor Teresa O’Malley why he’s confident that all pubs on the island will be able to serve customers indoors from July 1st




  • There are over 100 less pubs in Co Mayo than in 2005 - according to figures released today by the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland.

    Mayo had 467 pubs in 2005, and that was down to 364 last year, while across the country, there are almost 1500 less pubs - a decrease of over 17%.

    Cork saw a 25% decrease in the number of pubs over the 12 year period - the largest drop in the country.

    Dublin, Meath and Wexford saw the smallest decline in publican's licences, while rural counties saw the most significant decrease.

    Padraig Cribben, CEO of the Vintners Federation of Ireland says the statistics are worrying, and show the need for the 9% VAT rate for the hospitality industry to remain in place.

  • Pubs are to see Sunday opening hours extended and nightclubs allowed stay open past 2:30am as part of the reform of licensing laws.

    The changes are part of the justice reform plan due to be announced by Minister for Justice Helen McEntee tomorrow.

    It will also see new categories for alcohol licences introduced for cultural venues like art galleries and theatres.

    The new trading hours for pubs and clubs aim to bring a boost to the sector hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.

    Sunday hours will move in line with the rest of the week, with pubs allowed to serve alcohol until 12.30am.


    It's expected pubs will be forced to remain closed, as the National Public Health Emergency Team has advised against their reopening next week.

    The Taoiseach  Michéal Martin says he's received "very firm advice" from the public health experts, which is being currently discussed at a Cabinet meeting.

    Under Phase 4, pubs which don't serve food were due to reopen on Monday.

    But Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has cast doubt on this, saying they can't make any decisions which would affect the reopening of schools:


  • Pubs may be allowed to open earlier than planned if they can stick to strict social-distancing rules.

    Public houses are not due to reopen until August 10th, but this may be brought forward to the end of June.

    Two representative groups - the Licensed Vintners Association and the Vintners Federation of Ireland - are hoping new arrangements could see pubs opening from the end of June, along with cafes and restaurants.

    The two organisations will be meet with the Government later this week to discuss their proposals for reopening, while at the same time protecting public health.

    The measures include table service only, with no more than 4 people per every 10 square metres, and a maximum of 6 people at any one table.

    All customers must remain seated, and there would be no live music or DJs.

    Padraig Cribben, Chief Executive of the Vintners Federation of Ireland, says not all publicans will be happy with these proposals, which will present challenges as social distancing will be difficult, particularly in pubs.

    However, he told Midwest Radio that it would be unfair to allow restaurants and cafés to reopen weeks ahead of pubs, as is currently planned....

  • A 16 million euro support package for pubs, bars and nightclubs has been described as 'completely underwhelming'.

    Two vintners' groups have hit out at the new package, which includes a grant of up to 35,000 euro for pubs that are now closed. 

    It's also been announced pubs or restaurants who break Covid-19 laws will face closure for 30 days.

  • The uncertainty around what will happen in ten days times when the Level 5 Restrictions are due to be lifted is the most difficult thing for publicans, according to the Mayo Chairman of the Vintners Federation Alan Gielty.

    Alan, of Gielty's Bar and Restaurant  on Achill Island says businesses need to know now, a specific date when their premises can re-open and under what restrictions and regulations.

    He says it’s ridiculous to say that a rural pub can open, but only serve 15 customers outside in winter weather.

    Alan has been telling Midwest News about the problems now facing publicans just ten days out from the expected lifting of Level 5 Restrictions.

  • The Vintners’ Federation of Ireland has welcomed the news that commercial rates will be suspended while pubs are closed during the Covid-19 crisis.

    VFI Chief Executive Padraig Cribben says the commitment from government to suspend commercial rates for pubs for the duration of the crisis is welcome news for the sector, which has already been closed for almost five weeks.

    Mr. Cribbin says commercial rates are a significant annual expense so this decision will help ease the pressure on publicans.

    He says this is a good start but publicans will need government to introduce a suite of business supports if the sector is to remain viable.