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Insurance hikes may drive pubs out of business

Declan Tierney

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Publicans across the county have been hit with increases of more than a third in insurance costs over the past year – despite the fact that the vast majority have not had any claims against them.

But the spiralling prices have led one leading vintner to claim that all publicans are being ‘tarred with the one brush’ when it comes to insurance premiums – and that is only hiking up the problems for so many in the trade who are already under huge pressure.

Publicans in rural parts of County Galway are paying on average around €3,500 for insurance – and double that or more in the city.

County Galway VFI spokesman, Cllr Timmy Broderick told The Connacht Tribune that rural publicans were facing a major battle to survive and the increasing insurance costs was another huge blow to sustain.

The Kilconnell-based publican said that he had never had a claim on his premises and yet his insurance costs skyrocketed by more than a third over the past year.

And he said that a lot of the problem was that insurance companies were settling claims outside the court process and then “hammering” the publicans on foot of this.

“The insurance companies are giving in too easy and once they do this, they are loading the rest of us with increased premiums. We have called on the Government to look into this but their silence is deafening,” Cllr Broderick added.

The VFI revealed that 88% of publicans surveyed experienced an increase in their business insurance premiums over the past couple of years.

Of the publicans who experienced an increase in insurance costs, 39% saw an increase of between 20% and 40% and 12% had increases over 40%.

Cllr Broderick said that the main problem is that many customers are claims conscious which is rising the cost of insurance for all publicans.

When asked to rank the varying costs of running a pub, business insurance was cited as the cost of most major concern even ahead of commercial rates and TV subscriptions.

Meanwhile, 44% of publicans attributed the rising cost of premiums to high legal costs in settling claims, while a further 27% believed increases were solely connected to pricing policies of insurers.

Timmy Broderick says that no consideration was given to rural publicans who are being treated the same as those in Dublin City which turnover considerably more profits than their ‘country cousins’.

“The rural pub is still a landmark business and one that we want to hold on to. But Governments are making life difficult to make it sustainable and increasing insurance costs are just another mechanism for driving us out of business,” Cllr Broderick added.

CITY TRIBUNE

Galway City publican in heroic River Corrib rescue

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A city publican who last week helped save the life of a woman who had entered the waters of the Corrib off Wolfe Tone Bridge has made an appeal for young people to ‘look out for each other’.

Fergus McGinn, proprietor of McGinn’s Hop House in Woodquay, had been walking close to Jury’s Inn when he saw the young woman enter the river.

He then rushed to the riverbank on the Long Walk side of the bridge, jumped into the water, spoke to the woman and stayed with her until the emergency services arrived.

The incident occurred at about 3.45pm on Friday last, and a short time later the emergency services were on the scene to safely rescue the woman.

“She was lucky in that the river level was very low and she didn’t injure herself on the rocks and stones just under the water.”

He also appealed to the public to support in whatever they could the work being done by groups like the Claddagh Watch volunteers.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Pubs face court – for serving booze on their doorsteps!

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Gardaí have warned city publicans that alcohol cannot be served outside their own premises – even in newly-created on-street spaces designated by Galway City Council as suitable for outdoor dining.

Councillor Mike Crowe (FF) said three Gardaí visited a number of city centre pubs on Thursday afternoon informing them that drinking outdoors was not allowed under licensing laws.

“They warned publicans and restaurants that the area outside their premises is not covered by the licence, and therefore under national legislation, they are breaking the law, because they are not entitled to sell alcohol in non-licensed areas.

“The operators were told that this was an official warning, and they will be back again in a few days and if it persisted, they [Gardaí] would have no option but to issue a charge and forward files to the Director of Public Prosecution. You could not make this up.

“All of the big operators were visited, and received an official warning, and they will be charged if they persist. According to the guards, they’re getting instructions from [Garda headquarters in] Phoenix Park,” he said.

The matter will be raised at a meeting of the Galway City Joint Policing Committee on Monday.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Call for 50% affordable homes in new Galway City Council estates

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The next Galway City Development Plan should include a greater provision for affordable housing than that recommended by Government, a meeting of the City Council has heard.

Cllr Declan McDonnell (Ind) told the meeting that while it was the Government’s intention to introduce a stipulation that new estates should have 10% affordable housing, Galway should go further – building anything up to 50% affordable in developments that are led by the local authority.

The Affordable Housing Bill, which is currently working its way through the Oireachtas, proposes that all developments should have 10% affordable and 10% social housing as a condition of their approval.

Affordable housing schemes help lower-income households buy their own houses or apartments in new developments at significantly less than their open market value, while social housing is provided by local authorities and housing agencies to those who cannot afford their own accommodation.

The Council meeting, part of the pre-draft stage of forming the Development Plan to run from 2023 to 2029, was to examine the overarching strategies that will inform the draft plan to come before councillors by the end of the year and Cllr McDonnell said a more ambitious target for affordable housing was absolutely necessary.

“It must be included that at least 50% of housing must be affordable [in social housing developments],” he said.

This sentiment was echoed by Cllr Eddie Hoare (FG) who questioned if the City Council was ‘tied down’ by national guidelines, or if it could increase the minimum percentage of affordable housing required locally.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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