SAVEOURPUBS - Fitzpatricks in Downpatrick
03 September 2020
Fitzpatrick’s of Downpatrick is one of the many traditional, non-food, ‘wet only’ pubs which was closed at the direction of the NI Executive in mid-March, and are yet to see a glimmer of hope for the future of their business.
Pictured above at the doors of the still-locked-down community pub is co-owner and manager Darren Fung, along with his family.
However the pub, despite being firmly closed, is still costing money.
Darren, along with co-owner Eddie Fitzpatrick have been waiting and preparing in the hope of an opportunity to open and trade safely for months.
“It’s costing us a significant amount of money just to be closed- between rent, insurance and other monthly bills”, says Eddie.
“We employ five members of staff locally, but the effect of our closure along with all of the others in the industry is far more wide reaching.”
Despite the lack of clarity from the NI Executive around their future, the owners of Fitzpatrick’s have diligently prepared in the hope of an opportunity to show they can operate safely.
“We spent approximately £5000 in July to prepare for a safe and responsible reopening, and as the months roll on I’m finding it very difficult to understand why we are being treated differently.”
“There is nothing that food-pubs are doing that we cannot.”
“I fear that if something does not happen in the near future, our bar will not be in the position to open again.”
With the Executive meeting today (Thursday), the drastic situation for traditional pubs has been exacerbated with many non-food serving publicans, staff, and their families uncertain about their future with increasing costs and the winding down of the furlough scheme imminent. The repeated plea comes as the government in the Republic of Ireland recognised at the weekend the need to provide assistance to these pubs who may be closed for longer than anticipated.
The sector has stated time and again that it is ready to open fully under guidance, with social distance measures in place and all health and hygiene rules stringently adhered to and is calling on the Executive to let them prove they can reopen successfully once and for all.