Thursday, 19 March 2020
An Bille Sláinte (Caomhnú agus Cosaint agus Bearta Éigeandála Eile Ar Mhaithe Le Leas an Phobail), 2020: Céim an Choiste agus na Céimeanna a bheidh Fágtha - Health (Preservation and Protection and other Emergency Measures in the Public Interest) Bill 2020: Committee and Remaining Stages
Mattie McGrath (Tipperary, Independent)
I am also concerned. Goodness knows that the vast majority of publicans, especially in rural Ireland, have been under pressure for the past number of years. We know that 99% of those publicans do an excellent job and I want to support them and ensure that they have a business to go back to. Those publicans need all the support they can get. However, where pubs are open, and lock-ins have been reported, will the gardaí or appointed medical officers or health personnel have powers to close those pubs? Is the Minister going to make an order to that effect? That badly needs to be done. We need to treat this seriously, as is clear from the spike we saw today in the numbers of people infected, and the further spike we anticipate in the coming days. We need to have full co-operation.
There is a situation around gangs of young people. I have heard reports of gangs of young people on the railway line in Clare town. These young people are not that young, they are teenagers. Is there a number that is acceptable? We do not want people gathering and ask parents to be responsible, but teenagers are out there and getting up to no good, or just congregating. Those teenagers have to go back to their houses and mingle with people and there are concerns about transmission of the virus. Will there be powers to limit those kinds of activities? I am not talking about gatherings of 100 people, but maybe ten or 15. I would appreciate clarity on those issues.