Pubs Seek European Staff

The hospitality industry is seeking to hire young unemployed people from Greece and Spain to address their staffing problems.

The Oireachtas Tourism committee heard from representatives of the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) and the Vintners Federation Ireland (VFI) who say that pubs across the country in rural and urban areas are having issues finding staff.

An estimated one third of all staff have departed the sector, given the shortages of skilled workers that existed pre-Covid. Some of the key business impacts arising from the shortage of staff include reduced number of trading hours due to later opening and reduced number of trading days. Some 88% of members said recruitment was a serious difficulty, while 89% of members were worried about shortages this year.

The groups said they were looking at the live register and trying to attract more people into the industry.

"We're also looking from an international perspective and working with COG and Fáilte Ireland to see about putting on some conferences possibly in Spain, Italy, Greece, where there is a high young unemployment rate and maybe encourage them to come to Ireland," Donall O’Keeffe from the LVA said.

Paul Clancy, CEO of the Vintners' Federation of Ireland (VFI), said its international efforts were focused on accessing staff from European markets, because it's a matter of selecting which market has the best potential. "We're also supporting Ukrainian people in Ireland who wish to work in the hospitality sector," he said.

Mr Clancy said the visa system was an issue for non-EU workers. "The requirement to have the job advertised for four weeks, then get your applicant, and then process the visa isn't a practical response for a business that needs a chef or senior manager this week or this month," he said.