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Publicans fury as reopening delayed again

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FRUSTRATED: Gavin O'Donoghue from The Speakeasy Bar on High St says he's anxious and frustrated with the Government's decision this week. Photo: Grigoriy Geniyevskiy

 

By Sean Moriarty

 

Furious Killarney publicans say they are almost at breaking point following the Government’s decision this week to further delay the reopening of pubs.

Tuesday’s announcement means that pubs that do not serve food will have to wait until August 31 - at the very least - before the can start trading again. They have been closed since March 16 as a result of pandemic related regulations.

There are 90 licensed premises in Killarney – including hotels and restaurants – and all but 12 of them have opened since June 29.

Some Killarney bar owners fear they won’t be allowed open at all this year while others are concerned about the future of their businesses and staff.

They are angry that the Government waits until the last minute to announce plans that they believe were finalised weeks ago.

Gavin O’Donoghue and his family who run The Speakeasy Bar on High Street say that they "are anxious and frustrated”.

“We are being kicked down the road and we do not know where we stand,” he told the Killarney Advertiser.

O’Donoghue is calling for more clarity and honesty from the Government so he can plan ahead. He believes Tuesday’s decision was set in stone once confirmed cases of Coronavirus started to increase again from the middle of last week, and would have preferred if the Government made their announcement ahead of the long weekend instead of keeping publicans in the dark.

The Government has stated that its priority is to reopen schools and colleges later this month and that this is a warning shot to publicans who are preparing to open on the latest proposed dates of August 31.

“There is no way they are going to allow the pubs and schools open at the same time, so why not be honest with us and say that now,” he added.

“The stress and the mental health issues this is causing is frightening.”

His mother Mary said: “We are being very badly treated. The Government is going to have to step up. It is our livelihood and the way we are being treated is appalling.”

[caption id="attachment_33279" align="alignleft" width="356"] ANGER: Siobhan Linehan from Dan Linehan's Bar on College St is angry with the Government's lack of support for pubs. Photo: Grigoriy Geniyevskiy[/caption]

Siobhan Linehan, a third-generation publican, runs Dan Linehan’s Bar on College St which was founded by her grandfather.

She is also concerned by the timings of Government announcements and even if pubs were given the go ahead to reopen next Monday there are no directives available to publicans in terms of new procedures.

“It is very hard to make a decision when we are being drip-fed information,” she told the Killarney Advertiser.

Both publicans say they deserve a chance to reopen, even if there are stricter regulations.

“We are not being given opportunities to run our businesses,” added Siobhan. “We are professionals, we are going to do everything right, too much else hinges on what we do.”

“Even with reduced capacity and set opening and closing times, it can be done,” added Gavin.

The Government said the reason for delaying the reopening of pubs was due to an increase of COVID-19 cases in the last two weeks but neither publican is buying that.

The publicans say further delays in opening of pubs will lead to additional house parties and illegal gatherings including some reported ‘shebeens’.

“The number of cases are increasing yet the pubs remain closed; it is almost like we are at fault even though we are not opened,” added Siobhan.

Offering food is not an option for either.

“We moved our business model away from food 12 years ago, we sell pints and conversation. My customers are not here for food – they will have eaten at home before going out for a few drinks.”

“If we open to sell food we risk running at a loss, but do we open now and close down for good real soon, or do we stay closed now and close down for good much later – we can’t win. “

Gavin said there are too many restaurants in Killarney already and that offering food at the Speakeasy simply could not work.

“There are certain places for certain things – our bar is not a place for a fine steak meal – and some of my customers come to me because we don’t do food. They do not like the smell of food while they are having a drink,” he said.

 

 

 

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Spa GAA lights up – continues each Wednesday night

By Sean Moriarty Spa GAA club has signed up to participate in the Ireland Lights Up winter walking initiative. The lights will be on every Wednesday night between 7pm and 8pm for the next few weeks at the club’s new walking track. This week marked the second week of night walking but the club also held […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Spa GAA club has signed up to participate in the Ireland Lights Up winter walking initiative.

The lights will be on every Wednesday night between 7pm and 8pm for the next few weeks at the club’s new walking track. This week marked the second week of night walking but the club also held a candle-light vigil in memory of Ashling Murphy, the Offaly school-teacher who was murdered while out for a walk two weeks ago.

“Participants can follow the walking track that offers a safe off-road path and this activity is open to everyone in the community. If anyone would be available to help with registration or stewarding any night, all help is greatly appreciated,” said club PRO Deirdre O’Sullivan-Darcy.

Any volunteers that can help any evening or any questions please contact Margaret Doyle on 0879181970.

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Specialists to examine Killarney trees ahead of future storms

By Sean Moriarty Killarney Municipal District is to appoint the services of a tree specialist to exam the condition of trees in the wider district. The move follows last December’s Storm Barra. during which several tress were toppled. One motorist had a lucky escape when a tree fell on their car during the storm. Another fallen […]

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By Sean Moriarty

Killarney Municipal District is to appoint the services of a tree specialist to exam the condition of trees in the wider district.

The move follows last December’s Storm Barra. during which several tress were toppled. 
One motorist had a lucky escape when a tree fell on their car during the storm. Another fallen tree blocked access to the Moll’s Gap road near Muckross.
Both Cllrs John O’Donoghue and Donal Grady raised the issue at a recent Killarney Municipal District meeting.
“In order to mitigate against such events, the Killarney MD Office are in the process of preparing tender documents to procure assessment of specific trees that are in the charge of Kerry County Council.” A council official told the meeting.
“This will allow the MD to make determinations on individual trees in its charge. Individual property owners are responsible for the welfare and maintenance of trees within and along the boundary of their property lines.”

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