By Caroline Spencer
Many Galway pubs are “treading water” as the industry marks one year since shuttering its doors due to lockdown.
The anniversary is taking place the week of St Patrick’s Day – usually the busiest week of the year for Irish pubs and restaurants.
The Licensed Vintners Association have launched the social media campaign #NotDisposable to mark the anniversary. The campaign aims to keep pressure on the Government to support the pub industry during the continued lockdown.
Galway pubs are an integral part of the industry and tourism of the city.
With another St Patrick’s Day going by, many pubs are simply “treading water,” according to Malachy Duggan, manager of The Blue Note. “There’s not much we can do, cocooning indoors. Especially when the sun is like this, it’s hard, but we’ll get through this.”
The social media campaign was influenced by Dublin publican and drag superstar Rory O’Neill aka Panti Bliss. He expressed frustration with the lack of support for the pub industry and lack of transparency about reopening.
“Everybody I know who works in the entertainment industry or the bar or hospitality, we’ve all lost everything…It turns out that our industry is utterly disposable,” he said in a recent interview with Virgin Media’s Six O’clock Show. His comments gained traction on social media. Many pubs throughout the country expressed solidarity with the sentiment.
NUIG campus bar Sult has joined the campaign, posting poignant pictures of the premises. The campus bar closed at Christmas indefinitely after months of takeaway only service. “The industry needs to have one clear plan for the road ahead,” said Sult.
For St Patrick’s Day 2021 pubs including the Blue Note are holding virtual events to celebrate the day safely. The William St pub will be holding a virtual Father Ted quiz, as well as a virtual DJ set to celebrate the holiday.