Restaurants challenge  'irrational' indoors dining ruling

Restaurants challenge  'irrational' indoors dining ruling

The Restaurants Association of Ireland is challenging the Government’s “irrational” decision to let people eat indoors in hotels, but not indoors in restaurants.

They say they have applied to the High Court “seeking leave to challenge distinctions” made between indoor dining in non-hotel commercial restaurants and indoor dining within hotels.

It says the challenge relates to “recent regulations signed by the minister of health”.

The association says the distinction drawn should be quashed on the basis of “irrationality, lack of proportionality and unjustifiable interference with restaurateur’s property and economic rights”.

A spokesperson said: “These regulations are required to be challenged in order to ensure the continued viability of our members’ livelihoods and in order to ensure that these unjustifiable distinctions do not continue.” 

Accommodation services including hotels, B&Bs, self-catering and hostels reopened on June 2.

Services including indoor restaurant and bar services also resumed but must be restricted to overnight guests/residents only.

Outdoor services in restaurants and bars resumed from June 7.

However, restaurants and bars will have to wait until July 5 before they can serve food and drink indoors.

The application for a judicial review in the High Court has been made against the Minister of Health Stephen Donnelly.

Papers were lodged on Wednesday, and have to be served on the minister.

Notably, the application does not appear to be an ex-parte application for an emergency judicial review.

If it was, the soonest it could be heard could be Friday. However, as it is not likely to be an emergency application, it could take up to a year before it gets heard.

The Department of Health has been asked for a comment.

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