Private security may have role in Covid cert checking – Varadkar

Private security may have role in Covid cert checking – Varadkar

Mr Varadkar encouraged pubs, bars, and restaurants to enforce the checking of Covid passes.

The Government is looking at what role private security could play in implementing Covid vaccine certs in pubs and restaurants.

Speaking in Brussels on Thursday, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar told the press  gardaí may also have a role to play.

“We're looking over options, and obviously the gardaí can be involved because it is a criminal offence not to enforce the law,” he said.

Mr Varadkar also said the Government was looking at "involving the private security authority as well, because they're involved in regulating bouncers, people at the door and they're right there in the evening so they might be part of the solution".

But really what I would say to the industry is: ‘You've been closed for 500-600 days, and we want to get you to stay open."

Mr Varadkar encouraged pubs, bars, and restaurants to enforce the checking of Covid passes.

"The best way to do that is by making sure that you run a good house, and that means enforcing the Covid pass," he said.

“As well as restaurants, bars, we need to say to staff, make sure you check my pass because if you have staff are not checking passes, they're not running a safe shop, they're putting their own business at risk.”

On Friday, Mr Varadkar's spokesman offered an additional comment saying any involvement of private security would be through the Private Security Authority, which is a government regulatory agency.

He said it would be an oversight role.

In a statement to the Irish Examiner, he said: "As the Tánaiste said, the Government is considering involving the Private Security Authority, which is a government regulatory agency, as well.

"This would be in an oversight role, to ensure that premises are checking Covid Passes on entry."

Covid bank holiday

The Tánaiste added that the new Covid-linked bank holiday will not be this year.

“It’s still under consideration,” he said.

“I think it's fair to say it's not going to be this year, because the pandemic is still raging.

“ I think if we have this additional public holiday we'll have to give people some notice, as they go organise their shift patterns or book a weekend away, whatever they want to do.

“So, that’s still under consideration.

“February or a double bank holiday in March, no decision is made on that because the priority at the moment, as you can imagine, is getting open, staying open, staying safe, managing the pandemic and after a focus on momentum it seems to me that a public holiday would be premature at this stage. 

"I think a day of remembrance, a day of recognition for those who've done so much would be appropriate but unfortunately there are still people dying from Covid and there's still people who are giving so much so at the moment I think that might be premature.”

EU Summit

Both the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste were in Brussels for a number of meetings around the EU Summit.

Micheál Martin also met the prime ministers of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland on issues around climate change and energy prices, while issues around Poland loomed large throughout the visit.

Mr Martin said the Polish premier was "doubling down" on his stance that the European court of justice (ECJ) was responsible for a “creeping revolution” undermining Poland’s sovereignty, in an ongoing war of words between Warsaw and Brussels.

"For us in Ireland, I think that there has to be a very clear assertion of the principles of how Europe works in terms of the primacy of the European Union," he said.

"I think there will be a desire on behalf of quite a number of members to not just have a discussion today but to get a process in place that gets this issue resolved efficiently.

I do believe Poland has gone too far. I think there's a certain sense of choreography here, a performance of the sequence of events.

"The very letter that we've received from the Polish prime minister, I've read it and I think there's a lot of issues that can be dealt with in terms of an overview the Polish judicial decision, which was very far-reaching and doesn't compare in any shape or form, with any previous decisions by national courts, in breath on content, and so assertions by the Polish prime minister, it's just another in a series of this, it doesn't stack up.

"We've all signed up to this with the EU member states in terms of the competence of the Court of Justice Initiative, and confidence, and what I would find, that as a country, as a net contributor, you know we contributed substantially to the Recovery and Resilience Fund.

"It is a slap in the face to those countries, coming back around the scrum and retrospectively then positions like this taken by a member state that will benefit significantly from the Recovery and Resilience Fund and net contributing nations like Ireland and others expect people to adhere to the rules."

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