VFI Urges Government to Help Boost Consumer Confidence. 6,000 jobs gone since 2009 and no sign of reducing

Over 350 publicans today (May 14th 2013) attended the Knightsbrook Hotel, in Co. Meath for the 40th Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (“VFI”) AGM.

 

VFI President and Kilkenny publican Gerry Rafter addressed the delegates and highlighted the dire reality which sees publicans and other businesses all over Ireland struggling for survival. Assembled publicans were particularly irate at government stalling on the introduction of regulations controlling the sale, promotion and supply of alcohol.

On the back of independent membership research* that clearly highlighted a difficult first three months of 2013 for members as well as disquiet with Government, Mr. Rafter said: “The pub trade is losing 38 jobs a week and the longer government stalls on the introduction of legislation on the sale of alcohol, the more likely it is that this trend will continue. Minister White and Minister Shortall before him championed a minimum price for alcohol and safer sale and promotion of alcohol, but still we have seen no movement.

 

“We cannot be ignored any longer and the health lobby and public opinion firmly backs our stance. A recent Ipsos MRBI poll showed an approval rate of over 3 to 1 for minimum pricing.  The same poll showed an approval rate of almost 2 to 1 for reducing the number of outlets selling alcohol.” 

 

Assembled publicans spoke about the valuable contribution the Irish pub makes to rural Ireland as a social hub but also a major employer. Mr Rafter said; “50,000 people rely on the pub as a means of employment and to support their families. The drinks industry has lost 6,000 jobs since 2009 and 1,300 pubs have shut their doors since 2005. The value of the pub as a large employer outside Dublin is often overlooked.”

 

One of the main items for discussion was an emergency AGM Motion outlining the ferocious opposition amongst VFI members to the extreme austerity measures that are currently being implemented by government and are underlining fragile consumer confidence.

 

Mr Rafter explained, “Publicans and retailers all over Ireland see at first hand the crippling effect on confidence and spending power that austerity has had on already hard pressed consumers. People either have no money or are afraid to spend and the government cannot take any more money out of people’s already shallow pockets. We are all looking for a chink of light from this administration to boost confidence.”

 

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