By Sean Moriarty
Last week’s High Court decision to award four publicans business interruption compensation from their insurer FBD due to the COVID-19 pandemic won’t have much of an effect on local bars.
Only one thousand pubs are insured nationwide with FBD and the court has yet to make a decision on the level of compensation to be paid out.
Killarney publican John O’Shea of Jack C’s on High St has been the voice of several Killarney publicans since the start of the pandemic.
His business, and many more smaller pubs, did not have business interruption insurance. Jack C’s and every other ‘wet pub’ in the country have been closed since last March with the exception of a few summer weeks when they could serve outside or alongside the purchase of a substantial meal.
“I am delighted for the pubs that challenged this ruling and it should never have gone this far as they had a clear case,” John C told the Killarney Advertiser. “There is this false perception that pubs are receiving a lot of money from the Government to stay closed and that this FBD ruling is another money spinner for us.
“Leo Varadkar had the cheek on the radio last week to welcome this news as something good for small businesses – he forgot that he was the one to pass the law to close small businesses in the first place.”
The full details of the court’s 214-page decision still needs to be analysed before a final decision on the amount of compensation insured publicans are entitled to.
Publicans whose insurance policies have been renewed since the start of the pandemic will only get compensated for the weeks or months prior to the renewal date.
Niall ‘Botty’ O’Callaghan and his family run The Fáilte Hotel on College St. His business insurance is up for renewal in early May so he will get compensated for business interruption in March and April last year but the terms of his current insurance do not allow for future pandemics.
“The FBD ruling is great news for bars insured with FBD but it is still up in the air,” he told the Killarney Advertiser. “We have to wait two or three weeks to see the published bill of quantities.”