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absolute confusion Businesses call for clarity surrounding outdoor dining and alcohol following gardaí statement

RAI Chief Executive Adrian Cummins said that it was “deeply disappointing” for businesses to follow the instructions set by the Government only to find themselves illegally serving alcohol on the streets

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RAI chief executive Adrian Cummins

RAI chief executive Adrian Cummins

RAI chief executive Adrian Cummins

Businesses are calling for clarity over the sale of alcohol in temporary outdoor seating areas after gardaí confirmed that these areas are not covered by licensing laws.

The Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI), the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI), and the Garda Representative Association (GRA) are all seeking greater clarity about the legislation surrounding outdoor dining and the consumption of alcohol.

Licensed premises across the country had been given permission to install outdoor dining facilities in public spaces by local councils until indoor dining becomes possible.

However, An Garda Síochána issued a statement confirming that licensed bars and restaurants could only sell alcohol as takeaway drinks or to be consumed within site boundaries, which are established in the business’ liquor licence.

They added that on-street drinking areas are not covered by these licences, meaning that the sale of alcohol for consumption in these areas is illegal.

RAI Chief Executive Adrian Cummins said that it was “deeply disappointing” for businesses to follow the instructions set by the Government only to find themselves illegally serving alcohol on the streets.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, he said: “The Government should have known about this when they allowed hospitality to reopen.”

Mr Cummins added that €17 million had been granted to the hospitality sector to provide outdoor dining facilities and said it was “pointless” to provide so much funding for this issue to later arise.

Meanwhile, Vice President of the GRA Brendan O'Connor said that there is “absolute confusion” among members surrounding legislation as they have been told to use their own discretion while policing outdoor dining.

Mr O'Connor said members want clear guidance so that they cannot be vilified for following unclear orders and making “impossible decisions.”

“When things go wrong, it's our members that are left very vulnerable and isolated, answering questions about their actions and their decision making,” he told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

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