Michael Healy-Rae calls for 'unique' rural pubs to reopen

Tanaiste Leo Varadkar said pubs that do no serve food will not reopen any sooner than August 10.
Michael Healy-Rae calls for 'unique' rural pubs to reopen
Independent TD Michael Healy Rae: "You must remember there's an awful difference between Dame Lane and Ballinskelligs, and Dame Lane and Portmagee." Picture: RollingNews.ie

Independent TD Michael Healy-Rae said it is a “crazy decision” that some pubs can reopen to serve food, but others cannot.

Speaking in the Dail on Thursday, Mr Healy Rae said Irish pubs are “unique”.

He said: “We have always said that Irish pubs are very unique. Our country pubs are unique. They’re catering for smaller groups of people and they know their customers. All they wanted to do is open up in a small way so that local people could come in from the countryside and have a drink.” 

“You must remember that there’s an awful difference between Dame Lane and Ballinskelligs or Dame Lane and Portmagee – or any part of the county that I represent.” 

“I think you have really missed the picture here. By opening these pubs, you would not have increased the occurrences of the virus.” 

“What is the difference between a person sitting in a public house with a pint of Guinness in one hand and a toasted cheese sandwich in the other hand and a person with a pint of Guinness and no toasted cheese sandwich? Could you please explain why it poses a health risk to that person.” 

“I really feel as if it is a crazy decision by the Government.”

Tanaiste Leo Varadkar TD. Picture: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Tanaiste Leo Varadkar TD. Picture: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Tanaiste Leo Varadkar said pubs that do no serve food will not reopen any sooner than August 10.

However, he said the Government is not saying they will necessarily reopen on that date.

He told the Dail: “I have no doubt that the vast majority of publicans are responsible people and want to open their businesses. I want to see them reopen too. But I do need to be clear – what we’re saying is that pubs and nightclubs will not reopen any sooner than August 10.

“We’re not saying they will open on the August 10 – we are saying they will open no sooner than the 10th of August. It will depend on the numbers and how the virus behaves between now and then.” 

Mr Varadkar said the Government has always been upfront that the reopening plan can be changed and decisions can be reversed at any time.

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