Dermot McDonell of Cross Guns pub in Castletown.

Pub owner says some businesses have been ‘reckless’ with public health guidelines

A MEATH publican and restaurateur has hit out at some of his colleagues who he claims have been “reckless with public health guidelines.”

“Our business has been significantly impacted by the 8pm closure, but I don't blame the decision makers, I blame some of my colleagues who have been reckless and feckless with the public health guidelines,” says Dermot McDonnell of the Cross Guns pub in Castletown.

“Now we are all paying the price,” he said.

Mr McDonnell said that business was severely impacted by the 8pm closure implemented before Christmas.

“Anybody who is coming out to dine or even for just a few drinks need to be here by 6pm.

“Only certain people can come that early. It suits parents with young children, but couples or groups of friends – that business is gone,” he said.

“For every two bookings we have had one cancellation.

“I have written to the Vintners Association and I was vocal in my feelings about publicans who have been reckless and they acknowledged the problem.

“There are colleagues who have been reckless and feckless and we are all paying the price – and they would be the first to point a finger at the government.

“I feel the decision makers have their backs to the wall and I think there will be a full lockdown – may be a circuit breaker lockdown,” he said.

Meanwhile publicans around the country are predicting a bleak January.

Caroline Kelly, manager of Dolly Mitchell's at Rossin, Slane said they had been kept going over Christmas, but they obviously weren't as busy as usual.

“People don't normally come out until about 8pm so I think it is going to be a very difficult January and it will close a lot of businesses,” she warned.

Slane publican Wayne Harding warned “the real carnage will be seen in January.

“It is going to be a bleak new year. When government supports go, I don't know how many pubs will survive.

“The government supports are paying staff at the moment. In January and February, if people are only in the pubs at peak times, then the outlook is very bleak.

“Christmas business was reasonably good, but as well as early closing we have been hit by the public health message.

“People have been restricting their social contacts and it decimated Christmas business,” he said.