A fifth of pubs in Ireland have permanently shut in the past 16 years, new research shows.

Traditionally a focal point for communities across the country, pubs in rural regions in particular have long been under economic pressure.

A report released yesterday by the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (Digi) shows that 1,829 pubs closed between 2005 and 2021. That period covers the rise and fall of the Celtic Tiger era and the subsequent financial crash, as well as the Covid crisis.

Indeed, almost one in five of those closures, 349, occurred during the pandemic.

Co Laois experienced the most closures, with almost 31pc of its bars shutting in the 16-year period. Co Meath was the least affected, with just over a 1 percent decline.

But in 15 counties the number of pubs declined by between 20pc to 30pc. They include Roscommon with a 28pc fall and a  25 percent drop in Mayo – that’s 117 fewer pubs in county Mayo since 2005.

The report highlights that many public houses operate at relatively low levels of sales volume. One of the factors which influence business sustainability at these low sales volumes, which is within the control of the Government, is the high Irish alcohol excise level which represents a significant cost on the business. 


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