Vintners’ Federation of Ireland fully understands frustration felt by Kerry members as pubs remain closed

The Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) says it fully understands the frustration felt by Kerry members, as pubs were not able to reopen this week.

Phase Four of the Reopening Roadmap was pushed back to curb the spread of COVID-19, meaning pubs won’t reopen before August 10th.

This decision was met with anger and frustration in Kerry.

An emergency meeting of the Kerry branch of VFI was held in Tralee on Monday and was attended by 50 members.

The VFI has issued a statement responding to the concerns outlined at the meeting.

The Vintners’ Federation of Ireland says the disappointing news, that pubs wouldn’t reopen this week, was compounded by its late arrival; publicans were informed just five days prior to the planned opening.

In a statement, the VFI says there’s a feeling amongst publicans that the Government is treating the sector with a complete lack of respect, given the sector was the first to fully close on March 15th.

It adds the total inaction when it comes to policing house parties, is also causing angst as is the growth of illegal ‘shebeens’.

Ballyheigue publican Gearóid O’Regan, says pubs are a vital aspect of rural life.

 

Since this crisis began, the VFI says it’s called for all pubs to reopen at the same time as the rest of the hospitality sector; it also has been calling for reopening guidelines for weeks now.

The national body says pubs are closed so are not responsible for infections and VFI adds there’s also a proven link between house parties and COVID clusters as indicated by NPHET.

It remains committed to achieving the best outcome for publicans in an extremely fluid situation.

Chair of the Kerry Branch of the VFI Christy Walsh, says the VFI has been working but it isn’t good enough for Kerry members.