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Anger over footage showing large crowds in Kerry town

It comes as the Government said gardai will receive tough new powers to shut pubs which break Ireland’s coronavirus rules.

A screenshot from one of the videos.
A screenshot from one of the videos.

CONCERNS HAVE BEEN raised about breaches of social distancing after footage emerged showing crowds of people gathering in a Co Kerry town.

Video footage posted on social media shows large groups of people dancing in close proximity and appearing to breach public health guidelines in Killarney.

There has been widespread condemnation of the incident involving dozens of people in the town close to 1am this morning.

The Vintners’ Federation of Ireland tweeted: “We all have a duty to behave responsibly.

“Scenes last night in Killarney hugely upsetting for everyone following the guidelines and for publicans desperate to open.”

A Twitter page that represents pubs in Co Kerry posted: “Disgusted for all law-abiding publicans to see scenes like this in Killarney last night, especially while the majority of pubs are still shut down.

“Close down the business that sold them the takeaway pints immediately and enforce the new garda laws.”

Independent Kerry councillor Jackie Healy-Rae said it was one of multiple incidents in the town.

“Killarney is a very busy spot and people have been left very upset by the video,” he said.

“We have teachers and students going back to school this week and some teachers and parents are uneasy about returning to school but they are going back as they have to.

“To see that type of behaviour is not acceptable.

“People are angry and it makes Killarney look bad. This is not the type of behaviour we want here.”

It comes as the Government said gardaí will receive tough new powers to shut pubs which break Ireland’s coronavirus rules.

Fines of up to 2,500 euros or a maximum of six months in prison will be the sanction if bars infringing social distancing regulations refuse to close for a day.

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Closure orders could be issued by a district court resulting in a pub being shut for up to 30 days.

Plans to reopen drink-only hostelries have been put on hold again as the Government attempts to contain the number of cases.

Tanaiste Leo Varadkar announced a 16 million euro support package for pubs, bars and nightclubs which are enduring a prolonged wait to raise shutters.

The new initiatives included waiving court fees and associated excise and stamp duties relating to the renewal of pub and other liquor licences and waiver of excise duty on on-trade liquor licences on renewal this year.

The gardai have been contacted for comment.

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