DUBLIN, Ireland: Since the start of the Covid pandemic, 349 pubs in Ireland have permanently closed, according to the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) and the Licenced Vintners Association (LVA).
The pub closings "signal the extent of the distress faced by pubs as restrictions continue to impact the sector," the two groups said in a statement in October, days before Ireland's nightlife sector was to reopen.
"The revelation of a 5% drop in pub licence renewals is a dramatic escalation in the crisis faced by pubs.," the statement said.
The numbers of closings were derived from a review of licence renewals published by Ireland's Revenue Commissioners.
Of those pubs that went out of business, 37 closed in Cork, 33 public houses closed in both Dublin and Donegal, while 22 in Kerry did not renew their licences.
The statement adds: "By the 22nd October, nightclubs and late bars will have remained closed for 585 consecutive days since the outset of the pandemic."
Padraig Cribben, Chief Executive of the VFI, said: "These new figures reveal Covid's dramatic impact on the trade over the past 19 months. To lose 5% of pubs in such a short timeframe is unprecedented and underlines how the pub trade bore the brunt of pandemic restrictions.
"In light of recent speculation about delaying the ending of restrictions, the news that pubs are closing across the country will only heighten anxiety in the trade."
The Irish lifted many restrictions beginning October 22.
Among the restrictions that were ended included requirements for physical distancing, requirements for wearing face masks outdoors and in indoor private settings, limits on numbers at indoor and outdoor events and activities and ending restrictions on religious or civil ceremonies.
Also, the limits on the number of people who can meet in private homes was ended.