‘Show some respect’: TD slams Limerick pubs that remain open despite Government advice

"Why people would not follow the best public health advice and close pubs and desist from congregating in groups is beyond belief.”

‘Show some respect’: TD slams Limerick pubs that remain open despite Government advice

A number of pubs in Limerick are continuing to open and serve drink, despite the Government's advice to close them.

Pubs across the State have largely been closed since last Sunday, following a directive from Health Minister Simon Harris.

But two bars in the west of County Limerick are flouting the advice to close on public health and safety grounds.

Local Fianna Fáil TD Niall Collins said: "People in the west are appalled. A lot of members of the public have contacted me that a number of pubs in the west have remained open the last couple of days.

"People have been drinking excessively and not adhering to the distance separation public health advice."

Although the gardaí have upped patrols in the area, they do not currently have the power to shut down pubs, Mr Collins added.

"They can only remind the publicans of the advice. The community is really appalled by this. There has been a big influx of people who don't live there most of the year. It's really scandalous disregard for the wider community," the Fianna Fáil TD added.

A number of local sources have also confirmed this to be the case.

Mr Collins said locals are "angry and annoyed", with the publicans and patrons action "really putting people's lives at risk".

"I would call on the publicans and people who are frequenting these pubs to please show some respect for the local community and stop doing this," he added.

"People are appalled; people are scared for their lives obviously with the COVID-19 pandemic. Why people would not follow the best public health advice and close pubs and desist from congregating in groups is beyond belief.”

It is understood while the front of the bars are closed, customers are being asked to access the rear of the buildings.

In light of the coronavirus, which continues to spread aggressively, government asked all pubs to close from Sunday night.

It followed discussions with the Licenced Vintners Association (LVA) and the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI).

The LVA and VFI outlined "the real difficulty" in implementing the guidelines on social distancing in a public house setting, as "pubs are specifically designed to promote social interaction".

The Government said: "For the same reason, the Government is also calling on all members of the public not to organise or participate in any parties in private houses or other venues which would put other peoples’ health at risk."

Mr Collins said new legislation to be passed today may hand Gardaí the power to step in and close any pub that is still operating.

The actions have been condemned by the VFI, who urged publicans to "show some respect."

“If any pub is letting customers in there are in direct contravention of that order and it would be very disappointing to hear,” said Brian Foley, of the group.

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