Guinness has today (Tuesday) announced the establishment of a €1.5 million fund to support communities affected by COVID-19 in Ireland.

The fund will see €1.2 million 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 closure of licensed premises across the country,” Oliver Loomes, Country Director of Diageo Ireland, said.

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

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.

“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,” Sean Moynihan, CEO of ALONE said. “Today’s news of an additional €300,000 is going to make a significant impact. This support will help us to continue to provide vital services to older people who need additional support and are experiencing increased social isolation at this time.”

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, he said that they have been receiving a huge volume of phone calls to their helpline from older people all over Ireland and delivering support seven days a week to those who need it.

“This will enable us to continue to deliver and expand these much-needed services.”

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