The Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) have elected their first female President. Noreen O’Sullivan from Nenagh, Co Tipperary started her two-year term yesterday.
Speaking following her appointment at a VFI conference in Westport, Co Mayo, yesterday Mrs O’Sullivan stated; “Pubs still face high costs and we have deep concerns about Government inaction in the implementation of health codes. For decades, women have played a crucial role in Irish pubs, working behind the bar and managing premises.” the former midwife stated.
“It is a very great honour to take on the mantle of President of the VFI and to be the first female to do so, however, symbolism alone will not address the issues we face as an industry. My number one ambition as President is to be positive and to highlight at every opportunity all that is great in the Irish pub.”
“We must not whine and look for sympathy and we cannot expect others to come to our rescue. We must extol the virtues of that great institution that is the Irish pub and shout about it from the rooftops and that is what I intend to do. Make no mistake, the pub industry is still facing very significant challenges, with some 1,300 pubs having closed since 2005 and thousands of jobs lost and family business closing their doors for the very last time.” she continued.
“It has been a bruising and challenging decade. As your incoming President I urge the current Government to address the sale and promotion of cheap alcohol, introduce the ban on price-based advertising and bring in the statutory code of practice in respect of segregation. This is a massive social and health issue which cannot be ignored any longer. The Irish pub has a future worth fighting for, and the pub of tomorrow will have to be very different from the pub of today. Publicans must focus on changed offerings with an increased emphasis on events. Constant evolution and innovation will ensure survival. The time for action is now.”
“At a time when we are enticing more tourists, our country already has one of the highest levels of excise in the EU, for example the combined excise and VAT on a pint in Ireland is 68 cent and in Spain it is only six cent. The pub industry needs relief from the current penal rate of excise. My message to Government will be very clear, No more taxes.” stated Noreen.
Noreen O’Sullivan can be found pulling pints at her husband Jim’s pub, “Rocky O’Sullivan’s” in Kickham Street, Nenagh, Co Tipperary, famous for it’s Card Games and Traditional Irish Music nights.