Publicans push for better rural broadband
PUBLICANS are throwing their weight behind calls for improved broadband in rural areas.
They say poor broadband is not only impacting on their business but is hindering the economic development of rural areas.
The Vintners' Federation of Ireland (VFI), which represents 4,000 publicans, passed a motion at its annual conference in Killarney calling on the Government to take immediate action to address the significant deficit in areas outside of the cities and major towns.
The Irish pub is the number three attraction for tourists, and the VFI says 64pc of its pubs support 7,000 local suppliers.
Figures released by the VFI also reveal the average spend per pub on capital investments and refurbishment is €23,000 a year, which they say benefits local tradesmen.
They also show that of the 92,000 jobs in the drinks industry, 52,000 are "on-trade" or in pubs.
Publican Alan Gielty, who owns Gielty's Bar and Restaurant on Achill Island, says the lack of broadband is a major prohibitor for people thinking of starting a business there.
"Everybody needs broadband now to do business, but it's like we've been forgotten about. All the businesses need to pull together as one group and say, 'this is what we need'," he said.