Bar & Drinks news

Guinness pledges €1.5m for communities across Ireland

Oliver Loomes, country director, Diageo Ireland (left).

Guinness has announced the establishment of a €1.5m fund providing support to communities affected by COVID-19 in Ireland. The fund will see €1.2m go to support bar staff, alongside a further €300,000 to elderly vulnerable people through a partnership with ALONE, and its Befriending service.

“We have been supporting the licensed trade in the last week through what is an unprecedented period as we all work together to keep people safe through the ongoing closure of licensed premises across the country,” said Oliver Loomes, country director, Diageo Ireland.

“We are announcing an additional support of €1.5m, including €1.2m to bar staff, and we will be working with our partners in the trade, The Licensed Vintners Association, Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) and Hospitality Ulster, on how we can support bar staff to maximum effect using this funding in what is a very fast-moving situation.”

Colin Neill, chief executive, Hospitality Ulster, said: “With the ongoing closure of pubs around the country in a bid to protect their local communities, it reminds us of the importance of looking out for each other through these most challenging times.”

Donall O’Keeffe, CEO, Licensed Vintners Association, said: “These are unprecedented times and it’s important that we pull together and show solidarity among the bar community. In addition, the funding for services for older people is much needed and builds on the partnership that we already have in place with ALONE and Guinness addressing isolation among our elderly community.”

In addition to its additional funding of €300,000 for ALONE, Guinness is also asking staff members to pledge time to support the charity’s Befriending service.

Sean Moynihan, CEO of ALONE, said: “Guinness have been supporting us for over three years in a bid to address social isolation but it’s now that we need this most. Today’s news of an additional €300,000 is going to make a significant impact supporting the elderly who are experiencing elevated levels of stress and loneliness due to COVID-19.

“We have been inundated with calls from elderly men and woman all over Ireland since the COVID-19 outbreak. This will enable us to put much needed additional supports in place.”

The announcement is part of a wider initiative which will see Guinness and Diageo pledge in the region of €3m globally to communities and the bar trade, with similar funds in the US and UK. This includes £1m to support bar tenders in the free trade across Great Britain.

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