THERE are more than a dozen pubs for sale in Donegal, the majority of them in rural parts of the county.
The listings on Daft.ie come as The Drinks Industry Group of Ireland warns of an “alarming” decline in the bar industry.
From Buncrana in Inishowen to Narin in the south and from Ballybofey to Derrybeg, the property website has pubs for sale on the county’s four compass points.
The cheapest bar for sale, according to the prices available – others are price on asking – is the Crana Bar on Buncrana’s Main Street. It is being sent to auction with a €120,000 guide price.
The most expensive is the Boat Shed in Dunfanaghy. It is on the market for €650,000.
Other properties include Pete’s Bar, Derrybeg (€265,000); Silver Strand House, Malinbeg (€265,000); O’Shaugnessy’s, Ramelton (€220,000); The Cove, Portnablagh (€550,000); The Scotsman’s, Donegal Town (€335,000); The Forge, Donegal Town (€495,000); Mulreany’s, Donegal Town (€335,000).
Among those listed without prices are U Drop Inn, Ballybofey; Annora, Narin; Bonnar’s Bar, Mullaghduff; The Fanad Lodge and May Murrin’s, Bruckless.
According to the latest report from The Drinks Industry Group of Ireland (DIGI), there are 1,829 less pubs in Ireland now than there were in 2005. Of those, 349 closed during Covid.
No county has escaped the decline however Donegal has been among the hardest hit. Over the past 16 years the number of hospitality outlets has tumbled by 26.3 per-cent.
DIGI member and CEO of the Vintners Federation of Ireland, Paul Clancy, said urgent intervention in the form of reduced excise tax was needed to stem the flow of publicans leaving the industry.
“These 1,829 rural pub closures represent businesses that provide jobs, a hub in the local community for socialising and community integration and a cultural centre which has long been documented as among the main attractions for tourists visiting Ireland. The pace of decline increased as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic which saw the drinks and hospitality industry suffer the worst of all, with one of the longest lockdowns recorded globally.
“Considering this sharp decline and trend we’re witnessing, we need to monitor this industry carefully and ensure all the necessary supports are in place to contribute to stopping this trend.
“Our high alcohol excise tax is a cost and slows the growth of these businesses and impacts their day-to-day operations and bottom line.
“We are calling on the Government to reduce excise tax to support the industry with meaningful measures that will be felt immediately and reduce costs overnight for tens of thousands of business owners.”
Economist and Associate Professor Emeritus at Dublin City University, Anthony Foley, added that the closure of so many bars was undoubtedly taking a toll in country towns and villages.
“Pubs serve as a vital social outlet for many people, particularly in rural Ireland.
“With people living there faced by the spectre of rural decline, preserving the cultural heritage of the Irish pub in Ireland is arguably a progressive course of action.
“Economic and business sustainability is one of the several determining factors of closures of small public houses.
“Addressing high excise would have a positive effect on the commercial sustainability of small public houses and would be a strong element in the wider policy strategy to support rural areas.
“It is a measure which is completely within the scope of Government,” Mr Foley added.