What are they drinking up at Stormont?

What are they drinking up at Stormont?

This will come as no surprise to many of you…but I’m in the business of selling booze. I sell food too, but more than 50% of the turnover of my business, is Alcohol. (Thats not my Bar Back, but it is a great one) What may surprise some people, is that there is a bar at Stormont Assembly Buildings. A Members Bar so to speak, which essentially means that not just anybody can stroll in for a double vodka and red bull, you have to be with somebody who is accredited to be there. I was in it a while back when meeting with an MLA, I chose not to hit the drink, just a glass of water for me…but there it was in all its glory. I had gone up the hill with the aim of seeing what the opinion was of my campaign and ascertain if I could get any traction, and if I could, who with…and the MLA collected me from the foyer, and brought me here…It wasn’t the worlds most elaborate bar…I’m not sure they had any Boston Shakers or Galway Bay – Of Foam & Fury…I’m not actually sure they had much at all..but they did have the basics which I suppose does the job for them. I didn’t engage the MLA about the bar beyond my initial surprise, when so many members of the dominant political party treat alcohol as if it were the Unspoken 11th Plague of Egypt (Smear Buckfast above your doorway before dusk to be spared the reckoning..), I expected a dry building. I did figure that there would be...

Hospitality Staff Unite!

According to research undertaken by Warwick University and People 1st, the following facts are true regarding the Northern Irish Hospitality Industry (as of 2009/10) Over 44,000 people are employed within the industry, which, by DETI figures, is 5.4% of the total workforce of Northern Ireland 11% of the industry workforce is under the age of 20, and 43% is under the age of 29 43% of the workforce is “Part-Time” and 11% is “Temporary” As of 2009, there was a 5 year decline in staffing level as follows: Bar Staff (down 19%) Kitchen Staff (down 16%) Waiting Staff (down 8%) Almost all of the 44,000+ staff remain unrepresented in any way whatsoever. Pubs of Ulster does a fantastic job in representing the views of licence holders within the industry, but what is considered an important issue to publicans, restauranteurs & hoteliers, very often is at odds with what is considered important to the frontline staff. There are a number of trade groups and associations across the UK and the world that represent people within this industry, but none seem to be pitching a tent in Northern Ireland. Through my #BlameNelson / #BlameMervyn campaign, I have on occasion, seen myself disagreeing with the opinions being put forward by Pubs of Ulster and those industry figures who have spoken out through interviews in the media. It’s not that their opinions are wrong, not at all…but they are not what I deem important to staff such as myself. Whilst publicans can possibly afford to play the long game on Easter Licensing by hoping a bit of change now will lead to a bit more...
#BlameNelson to become #BlameMervyn ??

#BlameNelson to become #BlameMervyn ??

I’ll be honest…I’m not sure I like “#BlameMervyn” as a hashtag…it doesnt have the…gravitas. But perhaps in time, I have not yet any direct reason to feel personally aggrieved by Minister Storey. I have some absolutely fundamental differences with his viewpoints…on probably every issue up for discussion, however I have not yet heard his opinion on Easter Licensing clarified, so instead of assuming that just because: He is in the Knights of Malta He is Vice Chairman of the Caleb Foundation He is a Creationist (<- Definitely worth clicking that link….) He objected to an exhibition at the Ulster Museum on evolution, and insisted they have creationist exhibits as well He objected to signs at the Giants Causeway stating that it was “millions of years old”…I presume he subscribes to the Finn McCool theory So yes, despite these …differences of opinion that I would have with Minister Storey, I felt it best to get his view on the issue. So I have sent him an email: Dear Sir, I am writing as an interested party to the easter licensing law reform that your ministerial predecessor, Nelson McCausland had set out. I have been campaigning on this issue for some time now and am interested to see what your current stand point on this is. Do you intend to keep to Nelson McCauslands original alterations or are you open to further consultation/research on the topic? As a bar manager in the hospitality industry, it is my view that the current easter weekend legislation is discriminatory towards those who do not choose to observe easter as a religious holiday. A great many...