Gardaí are to begin inspecting pubs amid concern some premises are not following public health guidelines.
Under the rules for reopening, pub visits must be limited to one hour and 45 minutes and premises must offer customers a ‘substantial meal’ costing at least €9.
This morning, Gardaí and the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) launched a joint call for pubs to makes sure they are following the guidelines.
They warned that any pub found to be in breach of the guidelines could find itself facing an objection to its licence when it comes up for renewal.
They said Gardaí will begin carrying out inspections this week.
While Gardaí have no authority to enforce the guidelines themselves, they will be making sure that “public order is being maintained.”
LVA chief executive Donall O’Keefe said “severe enforcement action” will be taken against any pub found to be breaching the guidelines.
“We are heading into the first trading weekend that pubs are open in 15 weeks,” he said.
“Clearly Friday and Saturday nights are our big nights for business and we just want to reinforce the message that publicans must follow the guidelines to protect public health and provide a safe and enjoyable environment for people to socialise in.”
He said licencing laws oblige pubs to run an orderly premises and said the LVA believes complying with public health guidelines is “part of that.”
“The gardai have extensive powers under licensing law and public order legislation and gardaí will be monitoring this situation closely," he said.
“It is really important that both sides play their part here. The publicans and business owners and the customers in terms of maintaining the guidelines while they are on the premises.”
Assistant Garda Commissioner Anne Marie Cagney said officers will “continue to work with the trade in this unprecedented situation.”
“We will seek to engage and encourage all businesses to follow the guidelines and to do the right thing,” she said.
“We will also be undertaking inspections to ensure pubs are respecting the guidelines. Our role is to maintain public order and if there are indications that any such problems are arising, we will intervene.”