Coronavirus: Twenty-six Irish pubs may face prosecution

Inside of a pub Image copyright Getty Images

Twenty-six Irish pubs may be prosecuted for breaches of public health regulations and licensing laws after the easing of Covid-19 restrictions.

Some pubs and restaurants reopened in the Republic of Ireland when the restrictions were lifted.

However, pubs can only serve alcohol if it accompanies a "substantial meal".

Gardaí (Irish police) said in some pubs they found customers drinking alcohol, but no evidence of food also being consumed.

A total of 2,785 licensed premises were found to be open and the vast majority were in compliance with the regulations, according to RTÉ,

Gardaí carried out 6,830 checks on almost 3,000 licensed premises from 19:00 local time last Friday until midnight on Sunday.

The checks were part of Operation Navigation, set up to ensure licensed premises were complying with the public health regulations to stop the spread of coronavirus.

They also said they found some pubs allowing large groups at one table, with little or no social distancing, no advisory signage, no Covid-19 contact tracing recorded, and no evidence of receipts to show that food had been sold.

Under the health regulations alcohol can only be sold to a person at the same time as they order a meal for at least €9 (£8).

The penalty for a breach can be a fine of up to €2,500 (£2,238) and/or up to six months in prison.

RTÉ has reported that some pubs complied with the regulations after being warned by gardaí, but 26 have now been identified for possible prosecution, with files sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Deputy Garda Commissioner John Twomey said police are sending a clear message to such publicans that they will be opposing their liquor licence renewal applications in September unless they comply with the regulations.

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