The President of the Derry Vintners’ Association has urged people to support their local pub over the festive period following a quiet lead in to Christmas for local landlords.
Gerry McCloskey was speaking as traders prepared for what is traditionally one of their busiest periods as people return home and celebrate the Christmas and New Year period.
“It has been quiet but it started to pick up last Friday, known as ‘Black Eye Friday’. That was associated with the building industry and unfortunately now there is no building industry.
“Traditionally you would have seen workers who were on their holidays going out to have a good night but the industries and all the major factories have gone now and it has been down to office workers to pick up the trail and thankfully Friday and Saturday they did - that and other people, many of them coming out in groups of fives, tens and teven larger groups.
“This week has been a wee bit quieter. Boxing night will be busy and New Year’s Eve is ok, but it hasn’t been the same since the Millennium, it is a lot quieter than it was.”
Mr McCloskey said that it has been a tough year for publicans with less money about generally, while overheads are continually increasing and being absorbed by the vintners themselves. He added however that most bars were holding on, while two new bars are expected to re-open in the coming months- the former Becketts in Foyle Street and McCafferty’s (Clarendon Bar) also some time in early 2016.
Meanwhile police have urged those out celebrating over the festive period to make sure they have plans in place to get home safely, and if you are planning to have a drink, to leave the car at home.
PSNI Constable Paul Larkin, the licensing officer for the local area, said it was important for local people to be aware of the opening hours and to plan ahead. He also said that police will be mounting extra licensing inspections over the festive period.