The village of Dunmore in north Galway is rural Ireland heartland, and since March four of its six pubs have been closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dunmore publican Joe Sheridan said he was shocked, saddened and physically sick at the decision by the Government not to reopen pubs.

Joe Sheridan

He said rural Ireland was being decimated and pubs were being used as "pawns in the litmus test" for public health throughout the country.

"Most of my core group of 20 customers are elderly men who live alone. This is their primary social outlet and they would have been enjoying their few quiet pints in a safe, controlled environment.

"There is no leeway being shown and the consequences are devastating socially and economically," said Mr Sheridan.

Martin Leonard, owner of An Dún Rí, said: "I've a mortgage and young children and we're really struggling at this stage."

"I feel angry that the reopening has been pushed out so many times and we’re all paying the price for bigger pubs in cities not adhering to safety measures."

With a population of around 600, just two cases of the coronavirus have been recorded in Dunmore.

The local GAA club is also suffering from restricted numbers.

Tom Ryder, chairman of Dunmore MacHales GAC, says the recent Tuam championship was badly affected.

"We had to raffle tickets and it was like All Ireland day in Croke Park," he said.

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