WLR News

Listen: Emilene Stafford on Christmas, off-licenses & Covid

Listen: Emilene Stafford on Christmas, off-licenses & Covid Listen: Emilene Stafford on Christmas, off-licenses & Covid
Jordan Norris

A Dungarvan publican says that we are living in ‘terrible times’, as she predicted that 50% of Irish pubs may be no more in two years’ time.

Speaking to WLR, Emilene Stafford said that she closed her pub, Merry’s Gastro Pub, for two days this week - as she sought to give both herself and staff some time to come to terms with the heightening Covid situation.

Emilene was critical of the decision from government to not implement the 8pm closing time which was imposed upon the hospitality sector to off-licenses. She welcomed news of new minimum unit pricing laws for alcohol which has seen prices rise significantly in off-licenses.

“Publicans across the country have always had issues with off-licenses. They are treated very differently to us as publicans. We both sell alcohol, the difference is we can control the measures and how we serve somebody. If someone has had too much to drink in a pub, you ask them to leave. You don’t continue serving them. If you go into an off license, there’s very cheap alcohol on sale and you can buy as much as you want. There’s no control measures with it. It’s not right. I understand why people are upset about this, but personally - I think it’s a good thing.”


She says the main goal for most pubs in 2022, will simply be keeping their doors open.

“I think hospitality has been tarnished. From this time to maybe five years down the line, hospitality will not be like what we knew it to be. I imagine that over the coming 24 months, over 50% of the trade will be gone. I certainly hope that Merry’s is not part of that 50%. I’ll fight to keep it that way, but I certainly see a big change in the trade.”

You can listen to the full interview with Emilene Stafford by clicking the play button on the photo above.