Berlin Wall of Indifference Puts Pub Opening Beyond Hope for 2020

Nationwide in Castleisland 6-2-2018
Members of the McCarthy family, seated: Noreen and Mary with Tom with musician, Proinnsías O’Sullivan and singer Eileen McSweeney as they awaited the arrival of the Nationwide team at Tom McCarthy’s Central Bar on Wednesday. ©Photograph: John Reidy 6-2-2018

The well publicised, shameless carry-on in the Dublin pub ‘Berlin’ on Saturday has put the opening of both rural and urban public houses beyond hope for the rest of this year – at least.

That’s the view of Tom McCarthy of The Central Bar – one of Castleisland’s oldest and most respected establishments.

Recalling a bit of the old ‘You can’t be whistling and chewing meal’ type of advice from his late father, Tom senior, who told him to concentrate on either selling drink or selling food but do one of them well.

Times of Less Restrictions

“That was good advice and that’s what I’m doing and I hope we can get back to doing it all again soon in a time when there will be less restrictions on how we run our business,” said Tom.

“I’m not and I don’t want to be ordering customers of mine who have been coming in here before I ever stood behind the bar.

“I couldn’t see myself ordering a customer out the door because his or her time was up and, in taking my father’s advice, I won’t be doing any kind of food – just for the sake of it.

Giving the Trade a Bad Name

“I think that’s cheating really and there’s plenty of that going on in our own county at present and it’s giving the trade a bad name,” he said.

“There are people in this trade badly caught in the ongoing situation and there is no light at the end of the tunnel.

“I hate the thought of it but I can’t see us being allowed to open this side of Christmas and it may well be the other side of it as that carry-on in Dublin put the final nail in our coffin in that regard.”

The Local Rumour Mill

The pendulum on the local rumour mill is set for some time now on a will they / won’t they / partly truth / partly fiction path.

The mill is grinding out hot stories of pizza ovens, chicken wings, breasts, legs, nuggets with everything but feathers and sheebeens opening and being closed down.

There are real tales of fear and lonliness stalking the land and an atmosphere we’re more used to reading about in our histories of the many dark periods this great little country has endured through the ages.

Dark Periods of History

This is another of those dark periods but this one which has the extra element of strangeness to it and that’s what is making it all the more difficult for people to get to grips with.

That’s why law abiding people in rural Ireland, who can’t or won’t go out to meet their friends in their usual haunts, are appalled by the Berlin wall of indifference at the weekend.

That’s why those whose livelihoods are now in this awful stranglehold will tell you that they see no hope of them standing in their pubs this side of Christmas.

They’re being left down by too many of their colleagues around the country and a minority of those closer to home.