Vintners say the Irish pub has huge tourist potential that is not being realised.

At the annual general meeting of the Vintners' Federation of Ireland in Westport County Mayo, publicans have accused Bord Fáilte of doing things by half measures when it comes to selling the unique charm of the Irish pub.

Representing six thousand provincial publicans, the federation now wants to work with government agencies to market the potential of the Irish pub to tourists. They want Bord Fáilte to put the Irish pub scene at the centre of its latest promotions drive.

President of the Vintners' Federation of Ireland John Lovett explains that publicans are not getting the recognition they deserve as a destination for tourists visiting Ireland. He believes that while tourists may stay in plush hotels, their memories of Ireland centre around the Irish pub.

They remember the welcome they got from publicans and the smile that they received when they came in the door.

The Vintners' Federation has also called on the government to give an immediate commitment to the 1992 tax harmonisation proposals, which it says could reduce the price of a pint by around forty pence.

A number of publicans believe government action is required to promote their pubs and harmonise alcohol prices in line with other European member states. For many rural publicans, the problem of emigration is presenting them with challenging times for the future of their pubs. 

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 25 April 1989. The reporter is Jim Fahy.