The future of pubs in Derry and the jobs of those employed in the industry are being put at risk by an increase in illegal trading, according to the representative body of the pub trade in Northern Ireland.
Pubs of Ulster has voiced its concern over the growing number of premises in the Derry area which are regularly abusing or misusing licensing laws by trading as pubs and nightclubs without the appropriate licence.
Colin Neill, Chief Executive of Pubs of Ulster, said this means that such establishments are evading the considerable overheads that legitimate pubs have to pay, including the additional rates which are 30 per cent higher than those of other commercial premises -
He said they’re taking customers away from an already struggling local pubs.
“Premises who operate outside of the law are effectively stealing income from the law-abiding publican.
“£500 in cash taken from a till would invariably be considered theft - this is as bad if not worse. These unlawful operations are stealing thousands of pounds from businesses and impacting not only on the income of the owner but on the thousands of staff employed across the city.”
Pubs of Ulster is meeting with local publicans and the PSNI today to discuss illegal trading.
The group wants to ensure there is a close working relationship between the industry and police in order to “enforce a level playing field for all licensed premises.”