Local SDLP Councillor Laura Devlin has spoken out as yet again as publicans are faced with reduced opening hours over Easter.
Cllr Devlin said: “In November 2012 a consultation into pub opening hours over Easter took place and the overwhelming response was that there needed to be change. However, a year and a half later – nothing has happened!
“We have some excellent pubs and clubs within the greater Newcastle area. Pubs that offer a great social experience. Pubs that pay very high rates and make a huge contribution to the local economy. Surely we should be doing all we can to assist them.
“In Southern Ireland opening times are much less restrictive which seems extremely unfair.
“My party colleague Seán Rogers MLA has tabled questions for the Minister for Social Development calling for a relaxation in the legislation and demanding why it has taken so long to implement the wishes of publicans.
“Unfortunately none of this will be in time for this Easter. However ,it is imperative that this legislation is brought forward immediately so that a further year’s trade is not hampered. Central Government needs to be supporting these businesses who form the backbone of our local economy.”