Kerry TD Michael Healy Rae has said the Government’s coronavirus restrictions are like playing a game while “someone is continually moving the goalposts.”
Cafés, restaurants and pubs that serve food are today open their doors for the first time over six weeks; however, pubs that don’t serve food have been ordered to remain closed for the foreseeable future.
Meanwhile, weddings are limited to 25 people, with no music or wedding bands permitted.
On The Pat Kenny Show this morning, Deputy Healy Rae said young couples around the country are “absolutely devastated” they can’t celebrate their wedding with their first dance as a couple.
“I was talking to a bride to be last night and the young lady was very upset because she can’t have dancing at her wedding,” he said.
“You might think this was going to be a big party atmosphere, the lady just wanted to have a band in the background and to have her first dance.
“Being blunt about it, if they are able to get married and go away on a honeymoon, surely to be god they should be allowed to have a first dance. I don’t think that is beyond the realms of possibility.
“One thing we can be fairly sure of, is that on the night of the wedding, they will finish up in the same bed together so surely be to god there should be nothing wrong with being on a dancefloor together. I don’t see anything wrong with that anyway.”
He said the funny thing about there restrictions is that, “what Level Three was before is not Level Three now.”
“It is like a game being on and someone is continually moving the goalposts. It is very hard to score a goal because the rules are changing so fast.”
Deputy Healy Rae also hit out at the Taoiseach’s claim that there is no scientific basis for allowing pubs that don’t serve food to reopen along with gastropubs.
“What he forgot to say was there is no scientific basis on which to say they should stay closed either,” he said.
“When they were doing the contact tracing of people who had got ill, the one thing they asked an awful lot was have you been in a pub, were you at a party, were you with a group at a function in the pub?
“What they were trying to do is see is, was there any connection between people having a drink and getting the virus – and they failed.
“They absolutely failed. There was no connection. So, our pubs being opened at any stage did not contribute to the spread or the spike in the virus.”
He was speaking after publican groups accused the Government of using “deceptive” coronavirus data to run a “politically-motivated hatchet job” on the sector.
The groups strongly rejected the findings of a study undertaken by consultants EY which linked virus surges with the reopening of wet pubs in Cork, Limerick and Galway, noting that there were a range of other factors in play at the time.
“I am on one side of the road and I have a pub with a kitchen. My neighbour is across the road and he has a pub without any kitchen. What is the difference between those two pubs?” he asked.
“It is ridiculous to think that one person is being told oh you’re OK, you’re a safe person, we can rely on you because you have a kitchen and a person in an apron called a chef.
“The other person across the road who could have every bit as big a premises, could even have more space but because they don’t have a kitchen or a person with an apron, they are not allowed to open.”
He said publicans and customers have behaved responsibly right through the pandemic.
“All I want to say is, I trust the publicans of Ireland,” he said. “It is a pity that NHPET and the Government don’t.”
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