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no drinks ban Plans to stop people drinking in groups outdoors blocked by Cabinet

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(Stock picture)

(Stock picture)

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(Stock picture)

Plans to stop people drinking in groups outdoors have been blocked by the Cabinet.

A memo brought to Cabinet by Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has been rejected by Fine Gael and Green Party ministers.

Mr Donnelly was asked by the Department of the Taoiseach to draft new regulations to crackdown on people drinking takeaway pints in city centres.

The Taoiseach’s proposal came after videos of people drinking in Dublin City Centre emerged on social media.

The minister and Attorney General Paul Gallagher examined a number of ways of curbing the number of people drinking on the streets.

They initially looked at banning the sale of takeaway pints from pubs and restaurants.

However, this was seen as too discriminatory against businesses legitimately selling alcohol.

Instead, they drafted a regulation which would make it illegal for more than two people to gather on the street drinking.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Justice Minister Helen McEntee are to meet Garda Commissioner Drew Harris to discuss the enforcement of Covid-19 regulations.

There was criticism of the Government over they issue prior to the rejection of the proposed crackdown at Cabinet.

Social Democrats co-leader said any suggestion that gardaí would enforce outdoor drinking bans within certain distances of pubs would asking them to do "the impossible".

She questioned: "Are they going to be outside every establishment that are selling drinks?"

Ms Murphy added: "Certainly if there’s a large gathering I think it’s appropriate for them to come along and encourage people to disperse" but said that all that would be needed for the vast majority of people is "a reminder".

Labour leader Alan Kelly criticised the Government for "dialling up such an issue" and going "way over the top" when there are other priorities like the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Brexit and the controversy surrounding the appointment of Séamus Woulfe to the Supreme Court.

He said: "Put simply I believe they should implement the law as is and nothing else."

Mr Kelly said of the abandoned proposal to ban take-away drinks: "Do they want to stop any capacity for restaurants to have a bottle of wine delivered food?

"For me, that would be ridiculous.

"So I think a little bit of cop on is needed."

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