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The Next Victim of Brexit Might Be Sales in Ireland’s Bars

  • Bar owners warn that sterling’s decline hurt visitor numbers
  • Pub woes may be microcosm of wider Brexit threats to Ireland

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Irish bar owners warned that the U.K.’s decision to exit the European Union may hit sales, a microcosm of the wider threats facing the nation’s economy from Brexit.

“Brexit is already having an effect as the numbers visiting Ireland from the U.K. have fallen this year,” Pat Crotty, president of the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland, said in a statement Tuesday. “The value of sterling is a key issue for us as a tourist destination.”

Visitor numbers to Ireland from Britain dropped 7 percent in the three months to March 31 from the year-earlier period, according to the nation’s statistics office. Sterling has declined about 9 percent against the euro since last year’s referendum.

Brexit could derail bar sales just as the industry is recovering from Ireland’s worst economic crash on record, with British tourists accounting for more than 40 percent of all visits to Ireland. In a worst-case scenario, Brexit could cost Ireland 40,000 jobs, the nation’s central bank said last week.

“With the negotiations around the U.K.’s departure from the EU only starting, we can be sure of more uncertainty in the coming years,” Crotty said.

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