A Government minister has warned that limiting off-licence opening hours and the volumes of alcohol people can buy could be looked at as part of efforts to halt the spread of Covid-19.
Minister of State Patrick O’Donovan says that the opening hours of off-licences, and the purchase amounts need to be examined because "the consumption of alcohol is a large part of the problem with the transmission of the virus."
Speaking onMr O’Donovan said that people were leaving supermarkets with shopping trolleys full of alcohol and that “we know they’re not being taken home for an after-dinner aperitif”.
The minister said that his own brother was a publican, and that he himself was going to miss the wedding of a close friend this weekend because it was in another county.
He said that the “uncontrolled” consumption of alcohol at house parties was part of the problem and the issue of off-licences needed to be “put in the mix” by Nphet and the Government.
Currently, gardaí have the power to stand outside a house where a house party was being held, but can not enter.
Mr O’Donovan said his worry was that, despite all the appeals and public health information, a culture had arisen where people thought it was acceptable to hold parties.
“It’s not ok,” he said.
Mr O'Donovan said that the move to Level 3 and observing the restrictions was “the only way to go” to stop transmission of the virus.
“I would ask people to obey the county boundaries. Every step of the restrictions would have an impact.
“It is in our hands to halt this virus," he added.