Mooneys Bar, Monasterevin
The owner of a Monasterevin pub, established since 1911, says it is 'unfair and unethical' that pubs 'barely making a living as it is', are not allowed to do anything, until July 20, or maybe later.
Paul Hyland, of Mooney's Bar, Monasterevin, a publican for the past 45 years, fears that if the two metres social distancing rule is kept up, then 99.9% of rural pubs could be facing closure.
However, the long established publican will do his utmost utmost to stay open, and within guidelines.
Currently only pubs, operating as restaurants, are permitted to open. Referring to those serving food being allowed open earlier, Mr Hyland said: “It is crazy, whoever came up with the rule, it is a ridiculous rule.We all have to be responsible, there is no point asking Gardaí to do it, we have to be responsible ourselves.”
He said:”We are there since 1911, two World Wars, the last pandemic, recessions and this is the only one thing that closed us.”
Mr Hyland plans to reopen the pub soon. He said: “Social distancing will not be an issue, for rural pubs, during the week, and never has been. We will open, provided that the protocols give us a fighting chance. We are closed down since March 14, we are the hardest hit. What has food got to do with stopping the virus? If we opened up all the pubs, it would be better. How are Gardaí going to police this?”
Mr Hyland says that Co Kildare pubs need to be allowed reopen for the preservation of culture. He said: “Ireland was sold to tourists for years as the craic in the pubs, now those pubs are few and far between. We have done our duty and closed, we have to open on July 20. We are there a long time, hoping that we have done something right in the 110 years and people will come back. All that a lot of people, especially over 50 want is just three pints, have a bit of craic, have a chat, and go home.”
He says that the pubs need to reopen to stop the 'society killer' of at-home drinking. He said:“Since the Covid started, any supermarkets or off licences have drink being handed over the counter, no measures, it is a society killer, having people drinking at home and not going out. It is a dangerous phenomenon. I miss all the lads coming in, all the interaction. Fortunately I do not know of anyone who had Covid. We have to get back and be responsible."
A decision by Government and the National Public Health Emergency Team is likely to be made soon, in relation to the reopening of pubs.