Proposed outdoor drinking ban put on hold by Cabinet

ireland
The measure was intended to target individuals rather than pubs. Photo: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP via Getty
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A proposal to ban two or more people meeting outdoors to drink takeaway alcohol has been withdrawn by Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly.

The plan came amid concern over street gatherings and a rise in Covid-19 cases in recent days and would have made it an offence punishable by an €80 fine.

However, The Irish Times reports there was resistance from the Green Party and Fine Gael at the Cabinet table on Tuesday and it was decided there was not enough support for the measure to proceed.

On Monday, it was initially reported that new regulations would prevent pubs from serving takeaway drinks.

However, those reports met with resistance from within Government parties, sources told The Irish Times.

The measure was intended to target individuals rather than pubs, which would still have been able to sell takeaway drinks for people to consume at home.

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A source said it was intended to make it easier for the Garda to break up large groups of people drinking together outside.

Christmas travel

This comes as a senior National Public Health Emergency Team official warned the country could have “hundreds of thousands” of Covid-19 cases by January if large numbers of people come home for Christmas.

Current efforts to reduce virus cases are also well off-track, deputy chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn indicated.

Dr Glynn criticised “a selfish minority” of people breaking public health rules by drinking in large numbers on city streets.

Calling on people to avoid non-essential travel over Christmas, Dr Glynn said: “We don’t want asymptomatic people, who are feeling completely well, coming home to this country to meet loved ones, to interact with their extended families across generations; younger people, older people and people with medical conditions.

“We don’t want thousands of people doing that, resulting in hundreds of thousands of cases in January and deaths and morbidity and mortality following on in January and February.”

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