Reducing off-licence opening hours could help discourage house parties and 'chaotic scenes' in student cities, an expert in emergency medicine has said.
Dr Chris Luke has said we "shouldn't be carrying on as if we're in Ibiza in the middle of summer" when it comes to alcohol.
While there are new limits on social gatherings under the level three restrictions, concerns remain that the likes of house parties and other larger gatherings will still take place.
The Irish Independent reports that several Government ministers have raised the prospect of curtailing off-licence opening hours.
It follows anger over recent scenes seen in places such as Galway, where a large crowd of young people gathered at Spanish Arch with little to no social distancing.
Alcohol Action Ireland has welcomed the prospect of potential off-licence restrictions.
The group says restrictions should have happened early in the pandemic, but that it's "never too late to do the right thing".
Dr Chris Luke, consultant in emergency medicine in Cork, told The Pat Kenny Show that alcohol is one of the key factors in emergency department congestion and workload.
He's calling for measures to allow people go out for food or drink in a more controlled way.
Dr Luke said a well-run pub can be a boon to every community, and is also a "far better the place to be" than at a house party near an Irish university.
He said: "In South Africa, Hong Kong, the Bahamas and Botswana, they actually closed off-licences in the mid to end part of March.
"One of the difficulties with that was there was a terrible backlash in South Africa when they reopened the off-licences... when they reopened, there was a surge of pent-up demand.
"We need to think these things through. My tuppence worth would be they curtail licencing hours - perhaps only have off-licence sales between 9 and 11 in the morning, for example.
"If we're truly worried about both house parties and chaotic crowds near the Spanish Arch or Patrick's Street, we have to just calibrate and close down the off-licence sales in those areas."
'Mini beer fests'
Dr Luke said off-licences 'certainly shouldn't be open' late at night near colleges and universities.
He said he's in favour of 'targeted, localised and calibrated' measures that open or shut businesses as required, and that a one-size fits all approach for the country will not work.
However, he argued that the key will be to 'regulated socialising' - even advocating that universities could organise what he described as 'mini beer fests' on campus.
He said: "They'd have tents, stewards, people at tales and waiter service only... rather than assuming students will just stay at home, mind themselves and play cards in their rooms.
"[We need to] try to nudge people towards regulated socialising, where you book your table in the local pub or restaurant.
"The universities and other institutes [should] try to accommodate young people's need for congregation - which is very real and absolutely natural."