Rural Independent Group seeks immediate meeting with Taoiseach, Minister for Health & NPHET to discuss “Hammerblow” Pub Closures

The Rural Independent Group have this morning written to the Taoiseach seeking an urgent meeting with himself, the Minister for Health-Stephen Donnelly, Dr. Ronan Glynn and representatives from NPHET to discuss what they describe as a “hammerblow to the heart of rural Ireland” the decision to keep pubs closed for a further three weeks.

Tipperary TD Mattie McGrath, Leader of the Rural Independent Group has sought an urgent meeting to immediately review the decision which they say will decimate rural Ireland even further as a large number of rural pubs will never re-open following yesterday’s decision.

The group which met early this morning, following the government’s decision yesterday have said that treating rural pubs in towns and villages in the same manner as large city pubs and nightclubs is illogical and that a regional and differentiated approach must be adopted urgently to ensure the survival of these businesses.

Following yesterday’s announcement, the Taoiseach said that he had “sympathy for the publicans” however, “sympathy won’t pay the bills” said Cork South West TD Michael Collins.

Limerick TD Richard O’Donoghue said that he was aware of at least 11 pubs which will not now re-open following yesterday’s decision.

“This is a blatant attack on rural Ireland and on the publicans, many of whom are over 66 and not receiving any support from the government as they are not entitled to the Pandemic Unemployment Payment. It is of little use the Taoiseach and Tánaiste saying that the PUP payment will be extended until next April and that pubs can apply for the restart grant when they re-open as many of these pubs simply will not make it that far and feel that they have no option but to close permanently” said Deputy McGrath.

“Publicans across Rural Ireland are responsible citizens who provide an important service to their community and they care for the health of their patrons. They should be trusted to run their business in a responsible manner like all other businesses across the country, indeed, they have a duty to act responsibly in order to have their licence renewed annually, so there is an onus on them to respect all public health guidelines” Continued McGrath.

We have sought an urgent meeting with the Taoiseach, Minister for Health and NPHET to question these decisions and seek an urgent review. It is clear that we need a new approach to ensure the survival of these businesses” concluded McGrath.

The Rural Independent Group includes Deputies Mattie McGrath, Michael Collins, Michael and Danny Healy Rae, Carol Nolan and Richard O’Donoghue.

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