A publican in Co Limerick says he's 'gutted' that he was told to close his bar by gardaí after he reopened it in defiance of public health guidelines.
Gearóid Whelan from Whelan's Bar in Newcastle West reopened the pub yesterday morning, despite pubs which don't serve food being told to stay close until at least August 10th.
Last week he said he felt pubs were being unfairly targeted, and that there had been "practically zero cases in west Limerick".
Whelan's Bar reopened yesterday morning, but by lunchtime they'd been told to close by gardaí as they were in breach of the current public health guidelines.
For Newstalk Breakfast, reporter Barry Whyte travelled to Whelan's Bar to speak with the owner.
Mr Whelan said they had significant health and safety measures in place when they reopened shortly before 11am yesterday, including cleaning regimes, temperatures checks and taking the contact details of customers.
He explained: “At around 1:05pm I’d say, I’d had over 50 punters through the door. Everyone was happy, everyone felt safe, everything was done right.
"Then the guards entered. They just said they advised me I should close my premises under the Public Health Act 1947… so I took their advice and shut the door."
The publican said he is "gutted" about the situation, saying that their livelihoods are at risk due to the ongoing closure.
He observed: "Every publican in Ireland is under pressure at the moment.
"I’m just asking - give us a chance as professional people to run professional houses like we’ve always done.
“I’m going to take a couple of days to see what I can do - can I come back under the food compliance, or will I just stay closed. I’m not sure yet - I need a day or two to kind of get over this… and see what our next move will be.”