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RTÉ Archives Uncover Amazing Footage Of 1971 Pint Price Protests

RTÉ Archives Uncover Amazing Footage Of 1971 Pint Price Protests
Eoin Harrington
By Eoin Harrington
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Amid a cost-of-living crisis, and the inevitable damage done to bank accounts up and down the country by the run up to Christmas, an increase in the price of a pint could not come at a less opportune time.

With Heineken recently announcing increases in pricing across their range of drinks, to much outcry from publicans and pintmen alike, the discussion of the price of a pint is a hot topic this Christmas.

Some things, it seems, never change.

RTÉ Archives - one of the best services on offer from the national broadcaster - shared a time capsule clip on Thursday, captured 51 years ago on December 15 1971.

The clip shows an RTÉ News broadcast publicising boycotts against pubs in Dublin's Liberties, as a protest against an unexpected and seemingly unjustified price increase for pints in bars in the area.

Pub boycott 1971

The footage is amazing - and is a fascinating window into the drinking culture of the 20th century in Ireland.

1971 protests against increase in price of pint shared by RTÉ archives

In 1971, some pubs in Dublin chose to increase the price of a pint by £0.01 - the equivalent of around €0.16 in today's money, adjusting for inflation and the changeover to Euros. Curiously, that is an almost identical amount of money as seen in the recent Heineken price hikes.


The move drew ire from the local community, with picket lines being threatened outside pubs if the move was not reversed.

Pint price increase protests

Fianna Fáil man Patrick Lalor was the Minister for Industry, Trade and Commerce at the time, and the protests had the full backing of his department. Lalor requested a return to "normal" prices, and had a request for audited accounts turned down by 30 pubs as they "would not give a true picture of the need for an increase."

The vintners claimed that the increase in pint prices were due to an increase of overhead prices, with costs escalating. This problem was said to be especially prevalent in the Liberties, with RTÉ's newscaster Tom McCaughran saying this was down to the area's dwindling population.


Some protestors were interviewed as part of the "pint price protest" coverage by RTÉ.

One said, "They've increased the price of beer without permission from the government," while another was confident that their protest was working because nobody was daring to enter any of the pubs and they were losing business.

Pint price

One particularly aggrieved protestor said he was not buying the reasoning for the price change, questioning what overheads could have necessitated such a change:


The minister said no, that they shouldn't put the prices up, and that we should boycott them. That's what we're doing now. What overheads have they?

The protests took place during the lead up to Christmas in 1971, as unhappy locals braved the cold to protest against the move.

The full footage of the RTÉ news broadcast on the pint price protests can be viewed in the RTÉ archives here. We can only hope the price of a pint doesn't increase further in 2022.


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