Willie Aherne, of The Palace Bar on Fleet Street, has been elected as the new Chair of the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA). He takes over from outgoing Chair, Laura Moriarty of The Bracken Court Hotel and the Moriarty Group.

Willie is a third generation publican, having taken over the running of The Palace from his father Liam, who in turn had succeeded Willie’s grandfather Bill Aherne. With a family tradition of running pubs, Willie grew up in the trade, working in the renowned city centre pub from the days of his school holidays.

Along with Willie, the LVA has also elected Tom Cleary of The Temple Bar as their new Vice Chair.

Speaking following his election, Willie Aherne said, “This is a great honour. Having grown up in the trade and having Dublin pubs in my DNA it means a lot to me to be elected to this position by my peers, the publicans of Dublin. I know this is a challenging time for the trade with several issues continuing to weigh on the industry, not least VAT 9 and the advancement of the Intoxicating Liquor Bill. Continuing to liaise with suppliers will also be key. I promise I will work hard for all the members of the LVA on these matters throughout my term as Chair,” he said.

His election was also welcomed by LVA CEO Donall O’Keeffe, who said, “Willie is a very popular choice as Chair, having been heavily involved with the LVA and Dublin pubs for so long. He is steeped in the trade and he understands exactly the challenges that are occupying publicans. These will be the issues we will be focusing on for the year ahead – advocating for the reinstatement of VAT 9, seeking movement from the Government on excise duty, continuing to highlight the costs of doing business and of course, pressing them to bring forward the Intoxicating Liquor Bill.

“I would also like to congratulate Tom Cleary on his election as LVA Vice Chair. The Temple Bar is arguably one of the most famous pubs in Ireland and Tom has shown he is an astute publican and business man throughout his career. His experience will be very useful in helping the LVA and our members in the year ahead.

“Finally, we would also like to pay tribute to our outgoing Chair, Laura Moriarty. Despite her own busy and successful career, Laura dedicated her time and astute business mind to continually advancing the work of the LVA during her term of office. She was a fantastic Chair who was constantly available to represent us and to advocate on behalf of the Dublin pub trade. The LVA and our members would like to extend our deep thanks to her for all she has done during her term in office and beyond,” Mr. O’Keeffe concluded.