Belfast Telegraph

1,000 pubs forced to close in Republic of Ireland

One in eight bars in the Republic of Ireland have closed in the past six years.



New figures show how the recession, rural depopulation, lifestyle changes and the drink-driving offensive have contributed to the demise of over 1,000 pubs since 2005.



The number of closures is expected to accelerate further in the coming months, with even stricter drink-driving limits being introduced and government cuts set to further slash consumer spending.



Revenue Commissioner records obtained by the Irish Independent show the country had 8,617 pubs in 2005, at the height of the Celtic Tiger boom.



However, the number of pubs has fallen by 1,108 to just 7,509 this month.



Leitrim has lost almost one-fifth of all its pubs, down from 140 in 2005 to its current 110.



In Donegal, 71 pubs have closed down, leaving 369 of the 440 operating a few years ago. And in Cork, 211 pubs have closed.



Many publicans in rural areas say their customers are also telling them that the new limit of less than one pint is the final straw and they won't take the chance of being caught.



Publican Liam Fitzpatrick, owner of Fitzpatrick's lounge bar in Rathnew village, Co Wicklow, is in no doubt that he is witnessing the last days of workers having "a quick pint on the way home".



"Lads would have come in for a pint and a chat on the way home from work. They would catch up on what's happening locally and what was on at the weekend. There would have been between 15 and 20 of them. Now there are very few," he said.

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