Fermanagh PSNI Object to Article 44s
17 October 2012
Colin Neill, chief executive of Pubs of Ulster, said:
“The widespread objection of almost all Article 44 applications – which allows a pub to open after 11pm provided they offer food or entertainment – by PSNI in Fermanagh is an issue of great concern for Pubs of Ulster. Whilst we understand and appreciate that the PSNI are working within the law by objecting to an application, we believe that this blanket objection is the law being enforced in a very heavy handed way; a way that could cause irreparable damage to the licensed trade in Fermanagh.
“The pub trade, especially in rural areas, has been going through a very difficult time in recent years. The on-going downturn in the economy and the subsequent impact this has had on footfall and turnover, has left many publicans struggling to get by. Any measure therefore that forces a pub to close early, losing valuable trading hours, will have a very damaging effect on many local businesses. The damage to business will also have a knock on effect on local employment, putting hundreds of local jobs at risk if pubs are forced to close. We must also consider the effect early closures will have on Fermanagh’s tourist economy, of which pubs play a vital role in the unique local offering. In addition, Enniskillen is one of only four Purple Fag areas in Northern Ireland and this status could be in jeopardy if this latest clamp down on Article 44 applications impacts the night-time economy.
“Pubs of Ulster is currently engaging with local pubs, as well as the PSNI and local MLAs, and will be meeting with all parties tomorrow night in order to agree a sensible way forward on the issue.”