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Sale of takeaway pints from pubs to be reviewed after crowds gather

Video and images emerged on social media of people drinking on the streets in Dublin and Cork at the weekend.

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A woman walks past a pub in Dublin’s city centre (Brian Lawless/PA)

A woman walks past a pub in Dublin’s city centre (Brian Lawless/PA)

A woman walks past a pub in Dublin’s city centre (Brian Lawless/PA)

The Government is considering a ban on takeaway drinks after scenes emerged of large crowds gathering in Dublin and Cork over the weekend.

Video and images on social media showed people congregating and drinking alcohol on the streets in Dublin and Cork, against public health advice.

Taoiseach Micheal Martin said he was “extremely concerned” by the scenes on the streets of people not adhering to Covid-19 measures, adding that it puts the progress being made in the fight against the virus into “jeopardy”.

Deputy chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn branded those involved as a “selfish minority” who were putting the safety of others at risk.

But he dismissed calls from publicans suggesting the way to resolve the problem of people consuming takeaway pints on the streets was to reopen pubs and facilitate drinking in more controlled environments.

“Just because we’ve seen scenes like we did on the streets on Saturday night does not mean that the answer to that is to open up pubs,” said Dr Glynn.

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Micheal Martin said he was concerned and annoyed about images of people congregating in cities to drink takeaway pints (Niall Carson/PA)

Micheal Martin said he was concerned and annoyed about images of people congregating in cities to drink takeaway pints (Niall Carson/PA)

PA

Micheal Martin said he was concerned and annoyed about images of people congregating in cities to drink takeaway pints (Niall Carson/PA)

Ireland’s Covid-19 death toll rose to 1,984 on Monday after a further five deaths were confirmed.

An additional 456 confirmed cases of Covid-19 were reported.

As of 2pm on Monday, 274 coronavirus patients were in hospital, 33 of whom were in intensive care.

The weekend drinking scenes came as Dr Glynn and chief medical officer Dr Tony Holohan are warning about a recent upturn in case numbers after recent progress in driving down infection rates.

Mr Martin expressed his annoyance at what had unfolded in Dublin and Cork.

“I’m extremely concerned and very annoyed about it,” Mr Martin told Red FM.

“I think it flies in the face of what’s acceptable in terms of adherence to the guidelines and regulations, because we all have to work to try and get the incidence of the virus down.”

I think it flies in the face of what’s acceptable in terms of adherence to the guidelines and regulations, because we all have to work to try and get the incidence of the virus downTaoiseach Micheal Martin

The Taoiseach said Level 5 restrictions had been “working well” and Ireland was now “probably the best in Europe” in terms of its downward trajectory of the disease in recent weeks.

“What has been happening in the last week put all that at risk and in jeopardy,” he said.

“That puts frontline workers in our hospitals under pressure, it puts our ICU beds under pressure.

“Widescale congregation of people on streets just facilitates the spreading of the virus, so we are going to have to review, in particular, the whole takeaway pint and alcohol phenomenon.

“We’re going to review that and see what we can do.”

Asked whether he was going to look at banning pubs from serving takeaway pints and other alcohol, he said it was something he would be looking at “very seriously”.

“We are going to review it. We are certainly going to have a very serious look at it,” he said.

“I will consult with the Justice Minister (Helen McEntee) and I will be seeking reports from the Gardai.”

Mr Martin also told the Cork radio station that he expected the first mass-rollout of a Covid-19 vaccine towards the middle of next year, but it depended on how the vaccine trials progress.

“When they sanction these vaccines as safe we’ll roll them out as fast as we can, but it’s a huge logistical exercise in itself,” he said.

The Government has set up a national taskforce to co-ordinate the distribution of the potential vaccine.

“From early 2021 they will start to be rolled out but in terms of a significant number of the population I think realistically it seems to me that you’re looking towards the middle of 2021,” he said.

Asked whether that means the country will be going in and out of rolling lockdowns until then, Mr Martin replied: “No, not necessarily, that depends on our behaviour and how we manage the virus.”

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