Marita Moloney
Marita Moloney

12.23 17 Nov 2020


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The Government has withdrawn its plans to introduce fines for people who gather to drink alcohol outside.

Senior Ministers were meeting this morning to consider the measure to curb the spread of COVID-19.

It follows social media footage of a large number of people socialising and drinking alcohol in Dublin and Cork over the weekend.

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However, after Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly brought a memo to Cabinet, the plans were scrapped following opposition from Fine Gael and Green Party ministers.

The measures to ban takeaway drinks were criticised by opposition TDs and industry bodies ahead of today's briefing.

The Sinn Féin leader said if the Government is going to fine people for drinking alcohol outside, they have to fine those who drink coffee too.

Speaking today, Mary Lou McDonald said that fines are a knee jerk reaction and common sense is needed.

She said: "If it's going to be a business of issuing fines for people drinking pints on the street then what do we do about everyone who's meeting up and drinking coffees?

"I think there needs to be a bit of common sense here.

"I think our better course of action, instead of taking out the big stick and talking about fines, is just to speak to people's common sense."

'Over-reaction'

Kerry TD Michael Healy-Rae also warned that the Government can’t look to tighten regulations every time there is a new video on social media.

On The Pat Kenny Show this morning, Deputy Healy-Rae condemned the images of groups drinking together on Saturday night but noted that there is “no point in over-reacting.”

“We can’t legislate every time there is a gathering of people or people do something wrong,” he said.

Restaurants also said the issue is a distraction from the real issues involved with exiting Level Five restrictions.

The Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) CEO Adrian Cummins said the regulations are an unwelcome distraction when the focus should be on engagement with restaurant owners about reopening for December 1st

It comes as 273 people with COVID-19 are being treated in Irish hospitals this morning.

It's a fall of three patients on yesterday morning's figure.

Last night the HSE reported 34 people with Covid-19 in ICU, with five further deaths and 456 new cases of coronavirus confirmed in the Republic.

Main image: Health Minister Stephen Donnelly. Credit: RollingNews.ie

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