Breda Cuffe, owner of Cunningham’s Bar in Ballymore.

Publicans still looking for clarity on reopening

By Sarah Slevin

The owner of a pub in Ballymore village hopes vintners can get guidelines soon on a "permanent" re-opening.

Breda Cuffe, owner of Cunningham’s Bar, has only been able to open the pub for two weeks since restrictions first came in more than a year ago.

"I would hope that the government would give us some clearer guidelines as to when we could expect to open up permanently this time," Ms Cuffe said.

The pub has been a popular meeting place for locals for a long time, and its regulars miss it.

"As Ballymore is a small community, the pub is an important meeting place for people to socialise. Everybody is finding it difficult at the moment, with no social outlet and not knowing when they can get together again," Ms Cuffe said.

There have been indications that further restrictions will be eased next month, but there has been little mention of pubs so far.

An Taoiseach Micheál Martin confirmed at the weekend that there is a major stimulus package on the way for hotels, pubs, and restaurants – however, those in the sector have still been expressing the need for more clarity so they can properly prepare for it.

"To open the pub, stock has to be bought, which all has expiry dates," Ms Cuffe said.

"Even though the pub is closed, there are still the normal day-to-day running costs, which has left it a difficult year, despite assistance from the government," she added.

Last Sunday, at the Fianna Fáil 1916 Commemoration, Micheál Martin said they would be reviewing progress this week, to "set out the steps" of what can re-open in May, although pubs have not been expected to be included in the next phase of the easing of restrictions.

"We hope that when eventually we are given the go-ahead, we are not handed difficult trading guidelines. We are still anxiously awaiting positive news," Ms Cuffe said.