By Zoe Keane
Dublin publicans heaved a collective sigh of relief on Tuesday/earlier today when plans to ban takeaway sales fell at the first hurdle.
Health Minister Stephen Donnelly brought proposals to Cabinet on foot of a video which was widely shared on social media at the weekend.
The footage – of large groups gathered outside city centre pubs drinking takeaway pints with no masks and no social distancing – caused public outcry.
Brian Kavanagh of Mullingar House pub in Chapelizod told Dublin Gazette: “15% of my sales rely on alcohol. If there was a ban on that I could lose more because there would be a snowball effect on my food sales too.
“As a result, I’m happy the ban has been blocked. Since this lockdown we have had a minimum of five inspections per week and we’re following the rules.
“But then we see Dublin city centre jammed. We’re open just to cover our wages, to keep the banks happy and to keep our suppliers happy.
“Otherwise, we’d be going under very quickly.”
Some pubs have stayed afloat selling takeaway pints and cocktails since they were forced to close in mid-October under strict Level 5 restrictions.
Minister Donnelly looked at the introduction of fines for those who gather in groups to consume alcohol near these pubs. However, there were concerns from several Fine Gael and Green Party ministers who believed such a ban on takeaway drinks would be an inordinate response, particularly for rural areas.
The fines proposal was also resisted and withdrawn from Cabinet.