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'Forget about takeaway pints': Taoiseach hits out at selling drink on streets – but no ban

Licensing laws do not prohibit takeaway alcohol being sold.

Image: Leah/Farrell/RollingNews.ie

TAOISEACH MICHEÁL MARTIN has said that no pubs should be selling takeaway pints while Ireland wrestles with surging numbers of Covid-19 cases.

While announcing new restrictions to help curb the spread of the coronavirus disease today, the Taoiseach told publicans that they should not be selling takeaway drinks as it can lead to people congregating.

“Forget about takeaway pints, takeaway alcohol. No publican should be selling takeaway pints,” he said.

This is a very serious situation we are in. It leads to congregation. It leads to gatherings of people, which can spread the disease and the virus. And that’s a very, very clear message from me and from government in relation to that.

Under the current Level 5 restrictions, bars, cafes and restaurants – including those in hotels – are open for takeaway food and delivery only. Wet pubs are closed.

Ireland’s licensing laws do not prohibit the sale of takeaway alcohol or forbid a pub from delivering drinks to people’s homes. 

When questioned about the matter during today’s press conference, Martin did not say that licensing laws would be changed to outlaw takeaway pints but said that regulations on gatherings could be used to stop the practice.

The message is to stay at home. We’re saying to publicans ‘it’s not on that anyone would be selling pints. Forget about selling pints now’.

“That’s the point I’m making. To avoid the gatherings that did occur and which can facilitate the spread of the virus,” he said.

Government sources state they do not want people congregating on the street, adding that is a matter of enforcement. They added that take away and delivery of alcohol such as pints and cocktails is not banned, and there is no change to the licensing laws.

The Licensed Vintners Association tweeted this evening that take away pints for consumption on the street should not be sold.

The Vintners’ Federation of Ireland, which represents 4,000 publicans, said there has been no change to the licensing laws that impacts on off licence sales.

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Health officials reported a further 17 deaths with Covid-19 and 7,836 new cases of the illness today.

The death toll from the disease in the State now stands at 2,299, and the total number of confirmed cases is now at 121,154.

With reporting by Christina Finn

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Ceimin Burke

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