Publican behind Ireland's first ‘Covid free pub’ arrested

Publican Behind Ireland's First ‘Covid Free Pub’ Arrested Publican Behind Ireland's First ‘Covid Free Pub’ Arrested
Gardaí said a man was arrested for Breaches of the Health Act following 'unsuccessful engagement'.
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By Digital Desk Staff

The Co Mayo publican who opened Ireland's first “Covid-free pub” on Thursday with mandatory rapid testing for all customers was arrested last night.

The Western People reports that Donal Byrne, the owner of Eileen’s Bar in the centre of Aghamore village, was detained for failing to comply with Covid-19 regulations.

It is understood gardaí arrived at Mr Byrne’s premises at 7.05pm before he was arrested more than an hour later at 8.18pm.

An Garda Síochána said it is not its policy to comment on named individuals, but confirmed an inspection was carried out at a licensed premises in Mayo on Thursday.

Gardaí said a man in his 30s was arrested for Breaches of the Health Act following “unsuccessful engagement,” after officers alleged a number of breaches of public health regulations to the owner of the premises and requested it come into compliance.


The man was subsequently released from Garda custody and a file will now be prepared for Director of Public Prosecutions.

Gardaí said all other people present complied with the public health regulations and the premises was subsequently closed.

Sources told the Western People that there were a number of people on the premises at the time of the arrest but it was not overcrowded and they were socially distanced.

The people have spoken and asked questions... so we will be on air with the full story and to answer all the questions...

Posted by Eileen’s Bar on Thursday, December 10, 2020

The pub was reportedly using testing kits purchased from Communicare Medical Supplies in Claremorris, which are manufactured by Moe Lab, a German medical company.

“This has passed all of the clinical trials carried out by the German Army under strict EU manufacturing laws and it is being used by global companies. You have your result in 15 minutes and it is 99.9 per cent accurate,” Mr Byrne said on Thursday.

“The World Health Organisation (WHO) said at the start of this that the only way out is with rapid testing and testing is what we’re going to do. The WHO has purchased over 120 million of these kits that I have purchased,” he said on the Tommy Marren Show on Midwest Radio.

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Mr Byrne said customers would be tested for Covid-19 in an outdoor area and have their results within 15 minutes before they could enter the pub and drink. The pub was not serving food.

He said the pub would cater to a maximum of 20 people from the local area adhering to social distancing.

The publican has been vocal on his views that Covid-19 regulations have been destroying rural Ireland since the outset of the pandemic.

Under current Covid-19 restrictions, pubs that do not serve food can only offer delivery or take-away services.

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