Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

06.39 15 Jul 2021


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The Dáil has passed new laws to allow indoor dining for fully vaccinated people and those who've recovered from COVID-19.

The legislation passed 74 votes to 68, without any defections from the Government benches.

It comes despite almost all opposition parties and groups raising serious concerns about the proposals.

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Just one non-Government TD - independent Michael Lowry - ultimately voted in favour of the legislation in last night's Dáil vote.

The bill will now head to the Seanad.

Publicans and restauranteurs will have to ask customers for evidence of immunity from COVID-19, but they will have no way to validate the pass.

Anyone who forges a vaccine cert to get access to indoor dining will face fines of up to €2,000.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar told his parliamentary party meeting yesterday evening the rules around indoor dining will be reviewed in September.

The Government has said indoor dining will be able to resume by July 26th at the latest, if the necessary legislation is passed by the Seanad and signed into law by the President.

People Before Profit TD Paul Murphy believes the plan is a very bad idea that will only create more divisions in society.

He said: "They're putting publicans and those who work in pubs - largely people who aren't vaccinated - in an extremely uncomfortable position."

He suggested the proposals are "inviting superspreader events" to take place, and will undermine the ongoing vaccination efforts.

Sinn Féin's health spokesperson David Cullinane, meanwhile, criticised the Government for presenting this proposal as the only way forward.

He claimed they're making that claim "in the most arrogant way" without listening to alternative proposals.

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly, however, said the legislation is an opportunity to get people back to work safely.

He argued it's disingenuous to suggest hospitality could be reopened in a more significant way than the plan that's now making its way through the Oireachtas.

Main image: File photo of table in a restaurant. Picture by: Matthias Bein/DPA/PA Images

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Dail David Cullinane Indoor Dining Paul Murphy Stephen Donnelly

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