REVEALED: Full extent of rural pub closures in Kilkenny
By COLIN BARTLEY
A TOTAL of 34 pubs in Kilkenny city and county have been forced to call time over the past decade.
New figures published today reveals the extent of pub closures in Kilkenny since 2005.
According to the figures released by the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI), one out of every eight pubs across the county have closed in the past 13 years.
There are now less than 200 pubs in business across the city and county.
The figures also highlight a huge gulf in pub closures in rural Ireland compared to the capital.
Almost 20% of (1,535) of rural pubs have closed between 2005 and 2018, compared to just 1% in Dublin.
DIGI’s analysis is based on a report by DCU economist Anthony Foley. It shows the drinks and hospitality sector currently supports 4,654 jobs in the Kilkenny/Carlow electoral area and contributed €122 million to the local economy last year.
The figures show the rural pub population declined by almost 15% in Kilkenny over the same period, down to 192.
However, Kilkenny fared better than several other counties who experienced far high pub closures. These include neighbouring Tipperary (-22.5%), Mayo (-21%) and Cork (-25.6%).
A total of 71 rural pubs closed in Ireland last year. In contrast, a net figure of 10 pubs in Dublin have closed since 2005, a 1% decrease over the last 15 years.
DIGI has called on Government to ease the burden on rural drinks businesses by reducing Ireland’s high alcohol excise tax. Ireland currently has the second-highest overall alcohol excise tax in the EU, the highest excise tax on wine, the second-highest on beer, and the third-highest on spirits.
Commenting on the report, Rosemary Garth, Chair of DIGI and Director of Communications and Corporate Affairs at Irish Distillers, said: “With the now very real prospect of a no-deal Brexit, Government action and support have never been more important.
“Ireland’s rural pubs have been on a steady decline for years. Our high alcohol excise tax has played a role in this. DIGI is calling on the Government to take action to protect a vulnerable part of the Irish economy from further collapse by reducing alcohol excise tax by 15% over the next two years.”