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baked brunch

Host of Berlin D2 brunch says event was 'convenient scapegoat' for government

Social media influencer Jess Brennan defended the event today, describing it as ‘largely rule-adherent’.

THE HOST OF the brunch event at Dublin pub Berlin D2, which has been criticised after scenes emerged of a barman pouring drinks into the mouths of people dancing together bedside the bar, has defended the event.

Social media influencer Jess Brennan today said the footage showing people dancing close together and having alcohol poured into their mouths from a bottle by a member of bar staff had been “a very convenient scapegoat” for the government to distract from its own mistakes.

She posted a statement to her Instagram account, describing the event as a “largely rule-adherent small gathering”, though she acknowledged video footage shared after the event had shown “a very irresponsible move of a member of bar staff before they were reprimanded by management”.

Brennan took issue with the media portrayal of the event and with the person who had shared the short snippet of footage. She said the videos shared online were not representative of the event as a whole and that personal footage as well as CCTV from the venue proves this.

In her statement, which she said should not be quoted in the media without her permission, she also criticised the government over its outrage about this event while it continues to allow “hoards [sic] of people on packed planes flying into the country” and pointed out that many of the recent outbreaks were in meat plants and direct provision centres.

Brennan said Minister Simon Harris, who had criticised the event online, should address those issues if he is going to “tweet about Covid in Ireland and what is truly shameful”. 

The influencer said the last few days had been “surreal to say the least” and that she had been subject to “floods of online abuse and personal criticism”.

However she said she had also received a huge amount of support from friends and family and from her followers, of which she has 77,000 on Instagram.

Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn on Sunday described the scenes at the event as “reckless”. 

“It simply cannot be tolerated, and behaviour like that around the country puts the work that the majority of people in this country have done, to get us to where we are, at risk. We must adopt a zero-tolerance approach to that from here on,” he said.

“It’s simply not good enough that we’ve had the number of deaths that we’ve had in this country, that we’ve healthcare workers who are absolutely exhausted after all that they’ve gone through in the last six months, that they wake up this morning to look at images like that.

“I really think we need to double down across our society to prevent scenes like that from happening again.”

The Irish Times reports today that owners and staff at the bar would not be prosecuted over the scenes at the event as they broke no laws and were not in breach of public health regulations. 

Bar Owner Jay Bourke had handed over CCTV to gardaí, which has been reviewed. Earlier this week Bourke said he was satisfied that the videos shared on social media showed “20 seconds of madness” and that the event was “well controlled” aside from this incident.

“The 20-second clip was taken at ten to four,” Bourke said. “One of my barman jumped on the bar. It looked horrific. It looked like it had gone bananas… the footage doesn’t reflect what went on that day at all.”

He said people had been kept socially distant prior to this and – while young people have to “have fun”,  he would ensure “it will never happen again”. 

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