De Vintners Federation of Ireland (Ierse Horeca) heeft de Minister van gezondheid verzocht om een mogelijkheid om ontheffingen te krijgen van het rookverbod voor die pubs die zwaar onder het rookverbod te lijden hebben. Een soortgelijk systeem is ook al ingesteld in diverse counties in de staat New York.
Vooral veel kleine familiebedrijven hebben zwaar te lijden van het rookverbod, met name in de kleinere plattelandsplaatsen en langs de grens met Noord-Ierland zegt Joe Browne, president van de federatie.
“We are calling on the Minister to introduce a waiver system when he reviews the legislation as indicated in July. To date there have been mixed reports from members. Thankfully compliance has been high, however, our fear of a severe loss in business as a result of the smoking ban has become a reality for many members. Many small, rural, family-owned pubs have been hit particularly hard since the introduction of the ban and have serious concerns for their livelihoods and future.”
“Daytime trade has dropped off considerably and many customers now arrive later and stay for shorter periods. Once the summer season ends and the weather becomes more inclement further loss of business is inevitable. Members located in Border counties have been particularly hard hit with many customers opting to take their business to the ‘smoking side of town’. We have also seen a significant drop off in employment right around the country, said Mr Browne.
“We are calling on the Minster to introduce a system whereby those publicans who can prove a specific level of economic hardship would be eligible for a waiver from the ban to allow them to provide some limited facilities for customers. The Minister must act before these businesses are completely devastated.”