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15th Mar 2020

Leo Varadkar may seek power to ban mass gatherings in pubs and clubs

Darragh Murphy

Leo Varadkar

Leo Varadkar has clarified that the cancellation of mass gatherings of more than 100 people applies to pubs and clubs as well.

An Taoiseach was compelled to remind people to avoid mass gatherings amid the ongoing Covid-19 crisis after footage emerged of a packed pub in the Temple Bar area of Dublin over the weekend.

Varadkar took to Twitter to reveal that he has contacted the National Public Health Emergency Team for guidance on the issue of enforcing social distancing in order to halt the spread of Covid-19.

“No indoor mass gatherings of more than 100 people applies to pubs & clubs,” he wrote.

“Have asked NPHET for further expert guidance on this. May seek enforcement powers from Dail/Seanad.”

On Saturday night, Minister for Health Simon Harris slammed the scenes in the pub, branding the revellers’ behaviour an insult to the efforts of healthcare professionals who have been working tirelessly to contain the virus and treat patients.

Representatives from the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA), the representative body for Dublin pubs, will attend a meeting at Government Buildings on Sunday afternoon, when they expect further clarity on publicans’ responsibilities.

A statement from the LVA on the matter concludes: “The LVA is fully committed to playing our part. We will absolutely support whatever measures the Government deems necessary at today’s meeting.”

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