Pubs around the country are being forced to close for part of the week due to 'serious difficulties' getting staff.
Publicans will today tell the Oireachtas that staff shortages are damaging Ireland’s tourism offering.
The Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) and the Vintners' Federation of Ireland (VFI) will warn that the quality of service in Irish pubs is being undermined by the lack of trained, experienced staff.
Politicians will hear that four in ten Dublin pubs are now only open five days a week due to the issue – while some pubs have had to close for longer periods to let staff go on holidays.
LVA chief executive, Donall O'Keeffe told Newstalk that one-third of pub staff have quit the sector since the COVID pandemic began.
He said nearly nine in ten pubs are now having 'serious difficulty' finding staff.
“Obviously the pub sector experienced an extraordinary lockdown,” he said.
“We were closed or heavily restricted for virtually two full years. Over that time period, we lost more than one-third of our staff with many international staff returning home having left the country.
“Lots of staff left the pub sector to go to work in other sectors of the economy that were open.”
The LVA is warning that staffing issues will affect Ireland’s tourism offering – with large numbers of young and experienced staff unable to offer the same level of service.
Meanwhile the closure of pubs in the early part of the week will impact on the atmosphere in town centres.
“We are certainly seeing restricted hours and restricted services as a result of a shortage of staff with many pub kitchens staying closed on Monday and Tuesday in particular because we simply don’t have enough staff to service a seven-day a week business,” said Mr O’Keefe.
“So, reduced hours of trading on the food side in particular, is one obvious impact of the shortage of staff.”
The LVA and VFI are calling on the Government to ease work permit rules to non-EU workers to increase the labour pool.