Vex-ford | 

Wexford restaurant owners launch GoFundMe to fight vaccine passes

"One last thing, I wanted to say to the people who referred us to the HSE, that in my opinion, they must kneel down and ask God for forgiveness. If they don’t, they will rot in hell"
The owners of The Forge Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria, Luigi and Lucia Perri (Instagram)

The owners of The Forge Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria, Luigi and Lucia Perri (Instagram)

Neasa Cumiskey

The owners of an Italian restaurant have started a GoFundMe page which they claim will be used to pay a legal challenge against the HSE's vaccine passes.

Under current guidelines, the EU Digital Covid Certificate or the HSE Vaccination Card can both be used as evidence of vaccination when entering a pub, restaurant or café.

The passes were brought in to help limit the spread of the Covid-19 virus which has caused more than 5,600 deaths across Ireland.

Establishments are expected to comply with these guidelines and verify customers’ vaccine certificates against a valid form of identification upon arrival.

Vaccine passes have been introduced across Europe and have been described as an important tool in allowing businesses to stay open during the pandemic.

But despite the deadly pandemic, a Wexford restaurant owner is crowdfunding to take a legal challenge against the vaccine pass guidelines.

Luigi Perri, owner of The Forge Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria in Castlebridge, Co. Wexford, announced on the restaurant’s Facebook page that he has had several visits from HSE inspectors and outlined his intention to fight against the vaccine pass in court.

“I can go to court and maybe with this dictatorship, I can lose,” he said.

“But I will never lose my dignity. One last thing, I wanted to say to the people who referred us to the HSE, that in my opinion, they must kneel down and ask God for forgiveness. If they don’t, they will rot in hell. Their soul is not clean.”

He later launched a fundraiser to help cover his legal fees, setting a target of €100,000.

On the GoFundMe page, he once again unfoundedly slams the country as a “dictatorship” before writing: “Fighting for our rights to be free... we don't ask for the green pass and want to keep doing what we love (work at our restaurant).

“The HSE is bringing us to court and your support will help us to keep going.”

More than 535 people have donated to the GoFundMe page, raising a total of €13,374.

It comes after representatives from the hospitality industry called for “stronger sanctions including penalties, fines and closures for hospitality businesses flouting the regulations” following a meeting with Government officials last month.

Chief executive of the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI), Padraig Cribben, said that any venue found to be in breach of the guidelines “needs to understand there will be sanctions.”

“Publicans, the authorities and the wider public all need to work together to ensure we can return to normal life without restrictions as soon as possible,” he said.

A Digital Covid Certificate Checker on a mobile phone is used to check the validity of a Covid passport in Dublin (Niall Carson/PA)

A Digital Covid Certificate Checker on a mobile phone is used to check the validity of a Covid passport in Dublin (Niall Carson/PA)

“For the present, we all need to focus on compliance and awareness, all venues should continue checking for proof of immunity along with the other required measures while the public need to play their part through wearing masks and following the rules currently in place.”

Prior to a Cabinet meeting, Minister Michael McGrath said that any outlet in the hospitality sector refusing to check Covid vaccine certificates was “putting everyone at risk” and “do not deserve to remain open.”

“I think the public will increasingly vote with their feet and will leave the premises if they’re not satisfied with the level of compliance,” he said.

“We do expect the minority of operators that aren’t complying to fully comply with the rules. It’s in all of our interests that they do. And if they don’t, then there are penalties.

“The government will act and the authorities will act and certainly any premises that does not comply with the rules does not deserve to remain open.”


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