Travel across the Border for nights out will be “inevitable” once pubs reopen in Northern Ireland, according to publicans in the Republic.
Pubs will be permitted to reopen for outdoor service in Northern Ireland from April 30th onwards.
Pub owners in the Republic are now calling on the Government to provide similar clarity on the reopening of pubs in the south.
You will see travel into the North for weekends, you’ll see travel across the Border for nights out
Chief executive of the Licensed Vintners Association, Donal O'Keeffe, believes people will travel across the Border if there is no indication of pubs reopening in the Republic.
“At the border counties and maybe further afield you will see travel into the North for weekends, you’ll see travel across the Border for nights out, it’s simply inevitable,” he said.
“That’s further impetus for our roadmap to be followed. If we begin outdoor on the 24th of May as we propose, that’s the same day as the North begins indoor. At least there’ll be some options for people in the Republic at that stage.”
Chief executive of the Vintners Federation of Ireland, Padraig Cribben, also called for a plan for the Republic.
“That’s what we need to see down here and we’ve called on Government to give us the conditions under which we can replicate what’s happening in the North and give us some indicative dates,” he said.
“We have a lot of our members who are in border counties in particular, who will be looking at you know customers going across the Border, and you know when people get into those kinds of habits they might continue them, so there is an imperative now that we act and that we act quickly.”
It comes after the Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said that indoor and outdoor dining could return this summer, as the Government prepares to reveal a detailed reopening plan for May, June and July.
Mr Varadkar said on Thursday that the Government will meet to set out the plan at the end of April.
More outdoor activities, a phased return of retail and the return of personal services such as hairdressers have been earmarked for the next easing of restrictions, which will begin on May 4th.
But the Tánaiste has said he is “increasingly confident” that both indoor and outdoor dining will also return over the summer, although he added that he doesn't “want to raise expectations either and give false hope.”