Publican groups have condemned the scenes of large crowds drinking on the streets of Dublin city centre last night.
Only pubs which serve food are allowed reopen for now, with gardaí continuing spot checks today to make sure guidelines around social distancing and time limits are being followed.
Amid the restrictions, images and videos shared on social media last night appeared to show large crowds drinking and socialising on some streets in the capital, despite many bars in the area remaining closed.
Gardai walking around the streets in Dublin City Centre to make sure pubs are not breaking the guidelines on social distancing, serving food or time limits etc
Yet this is allowed on Dame Lane..... pic.twitter.com/4inEgsY2Rm
— Barry Whyte (@BarryWhyte85) July 4, 2020
The Licenced Vintners Association says the scenes last night "jeopardise public health" as social distancing wasn't being observed.
In a statement, the group said: "Unfortunately scenes like this have been taking place over the last few weekends in Dublin city centre. We are reminding pubs who are serving takeout of their responsibilities.
"Such drinking in public spaces presents a terrible image of our city centre. It is potentially extremely damaging to public health."
Padraig Cribben, CEO of the Vintners Federation, also said it's not acceptable - although stressed the 'vast majority' of premises are continuing to follow the public health guidelines.
Speaking on On The Record, he noted that the scenes were out on the streets rather than inside premises, and that many people appeared to have brought their own drinks.
He observed: “Pubs should not feed into facilitating the lack of personal responsibility, but we all have to take responsibility for our actions.
“The scenes last night that I have seen were out on the streets - of course they’re not acceptable. There was no social distancing taking place - they certainly can’t all have been from the same household.
“They were in the public domain, rather than inside a public house - I think it’s important to note that.”
Mr Cribben said pubs are legally allowed to serve takeaway drinks, but those drinks cannot be consumed directly outside the pub.
He explained: “If alcohol is being consumed with 100 metres of the particular establishment, then the law is being broken.
“The small number that are in breach of the regulations… it’s fine if they want to put their own business in jeopardy, but they’re not entitled to put the businesses of others in jeopardy - and that’s precisely what they’re doing."
He's called for gardaí to take action where necessary, noting that the force has already indicated they will object to the renewal of licences for any premises that flout the current guidelines.
Mr Cribben described the removal of a licence the ‘ultimate sanction’ for any publican.
Meanwhile, gardaí are continuing to carry out spot checks at pubs, bars and restaurants to ensure guidelines are being followed.
The force said they carried out a search in Dublin yesterday that led to a "large quantity of alcohol seized" from a premises "allegedly operating as a restaurant".
An Garda Síochána in support of Op Navigation searched a premises allegedly operating as a restaurant in Dublin y/day. Breaches of Covid19 Regs were observed & premises in breach of preexisting Liquor Licensing Legislation. Large quantity of alcohol seized. #InThisTogether pic.twitter.com/G0K0WBF6Cr
— Garda Info (@gardainfo) July 5, 2020
Main image: File photo. Picture by: Sam Greene/The Enquirer via USA TODAY NETWORK/Sipa USA