Micheál Martin Warns That Plan To Reopen All Pubs This Month Could Be Delayed

Speaking on the 96FM Opinion Line this morning, Martin said the Cabinet would be considering a Garda report today on the level of compliance by publicans.

Micheál Martin has warned that the plan to reopen all pubs on July 20 could be delayed, as it is essential "to put public health first."

"As you know the full opening was to take place on 20 July… it could be delayed if they don’t behave," Martin said, speaking to Cork's 96FM on Monday morning.

"We will get advice from the public health officials but we are worried about it. We have to put public health first. That is the overarching issue.

"The only way we can get the economy back is if we keep COVID-19 down. Any change to this would be a disaster for the country."

Licensed premises reopened a week ago under Phase 3 of the roadmap to reopen the country. Since 29 June, many pubs have already re-opened early as restaurants. 

This follows footage shared widely over the weekend, showing large groups of people consuming alcohol on the streets of Dublin.

The Taoiseach said today the scenes were “very worrying”. He added that the opening hours and the off-site consumption rules were not being followed in some cases.

The Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) subsequently condemned this, claiming that it completely "jeopardises public health".

Responding to the footage, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said that as of last night, 6,000 premises had been checked by gardaí across the country.

“What we found were that the vast majority were compliant. We did find breaches of the regulations. We also found breaches of the licensing laws, in a minority of cases.”

Former health minister Simon Harris also expressed concern surrounding pubs reopening in recent days. “C’mon everyone. We’ve come too far to go back,” he tweeted. 

Martin also said that a formal decision on travel restrictions in Ireland is expected to be made later on Monday.

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