Dáil debates

Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Saincheisteanna Tráthúla - Topical Issue Debate

Covid-19 Pandemic

10:20 pm

Photo of Catherine ConnollyCatherine Connolly (Galway West, Independent) | Oireachtas source

I welcome the opportunity, however short, to raise this matter with the Minister of State. I have a slightly different view on it from my colleagues. First, I think the Garda has done us a favour in highlighting the difficulties its members are facing in being asked to use their discretion. That is extremely difficult to do. In fact, we know from history and various tribunals that it is just not possible.

This problem has arisen as a consequence of the message given by the Government that we are to have an outdoor summer. Unfortunately, that simply means more consumption of alcohol and the situation is not helped by a broader interpretation of what an outdoor summer means. In Galway, we have clear by-laws that say it is not permitted to drink on the streets. Those by-laws were not put in place overnight. They happened as a result of continuous pressure from various people because public drinking was out of control. Rather than recognising that position and having a balanced approach to the reopening of pubs, which I fully agree with, the Government focused on an outdoor drinking situation, which is totally wrong. We should have opened all pubs, albeit with restricted capacity, to reduce the pressure. I am asking not just for clarity in this matter but for a healthier message from the Government as to what an outdoor summer means, while still facilitating businesses in Galway and elsewhere.


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