Publican's plan for early re-opening of his Tipperary bar slammed as 'short-sighted and disrespectful'

John Harney said he plans to reopen his bar, Harney's Final Furlong, in Ballyclerihan near Clonmel, on June 29. It has been closed since March 15 with the proposed date for reopening on August 10 as part of Phase 5 of the Government’s roadmap to reopening the country.
Publican's plan for early re-opening of his Tipperary bar slammed as 'short-sighted and disrespectful'
John Harney behind his bar in his pub Harney’s Final Furlong in Clerihan Clonmel Co Tipperary. Picture: John D Kelly
John Harney behind his bar in his pub Harney’s Final Furlong in Clerihan Clonmel Co Tipperary. Picture: John D Kelly

A Tipperary publican insisting on opening his pub at the end of this month has been slammed as "short-sighted and disrespectful" to the more than 500 people affected by Covid-19 in the county.

John Harney said he plans to reopen his bar, Harney's Final Furlong, in Ballyclerihan near Clonmel, on June 29. It has been closed since March 15 with the proposed date for reopening on August 10 as part of Phase 5 of the Government’s roadmap to reopening the country.

His comments were criticised by campaign group Alcohol Action Ireland, who said "now is not the time to act unwisely" for the "sake of a few pints".

Mr Harney said he had "enough" of restrictions.

"I have adhered to all the advice personally - 2km, 5km, etc. I cancelled all live music and parties at the pub prior to the mandatory closing in the early stages of the pandemic.

"However, I feel that the proposed reopening guidelines are completely unjust, my pub is bigger than many of the restaurants nationwide that are set to open on June 29," he said.

"We are happy that we can implement social distancing and provide a safe service to our customers and I cannot fathom how the guidelines are industry-specific rather than venue appropriate. I have been in business all my life and it simply makes no sense at all and quite frankly I’ve had enough.”

Alcohol Action spokesman Eunan McKinney said there was no denying that sustaining an economy while protecting public health during the pandemic was tremendously difficult for everyone including businesses.

"However, now is not the time to act unwisely," he said. "Publicans, like others in our communities, have a responsibility to show leadership and solidarity with the public health advice. Everyone clearly understands how virulent this virus is - over 1,600 people have lost their lives to this disease.

"So the idea that we would risk a renewed community spread for the sake of a few pints sold seems very shortsighted and somewhat disrespectful to the 538 people in Tipperary with the virus, their families and those with underlying health conditions, fearful of contagion."

"Hopefully in this instance, the publican promoting his business will take an opportunity to rethink his premature re-opening," he said.

Meanwhile, the iconic Foley's pub and restaurant in New York City, which has been a haven for thousands of Irish tourists and emigrants over the years, has said it will not reopen following lockdown.

Foley’s, acclaimed as being among the top baseball bars in New York, has become synonymous for its dedication to sport, including hosting the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame.

Foley's pub and restaurant in New York City
Foley's pub and restaurant in New York City

Shaun Clancy, owner of the bar which is directly across from the Empire State Building, said it was closing due to the pandemic's toll, making headlines across New York media, as well as national publications such as USA Today.

Mr Clancy opened the bar in 2004, naming it after famed New York sportswriter and legendary Major League Baseball official scorer Red Foley.

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