SCENES of people drinking on the street in Dublin and Cork over the weekend, flouting Covid-19 restrictions were “demoralising” for health care workers, according to Dr Mary Favier, a member of Nphet and former president of the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP).
Such scenes were “demoralising for people who have spent months on the front-line” she told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland.
Dr Favier said that complacency and fatigue had set in with regard to restrictions and people had taken their eye off the ball.
She called on employers, staff, trade unions, student unions and organisations such as the GAA to encourage everyone to take precautions when it comes to work and congregating.
“We need peer led motivation,” she added.
“I think as a society, we need to be cautious. We will need to have a cautious approach as to how alcohol is used over the next few weeks.” Dr Favier warned that a person could take a test every day, but they would still need to isolate for the recommended time.
“The restrictions on travel are appropriate now and unfortunately will be necessary in five or six weeks time."
The virus didn’t recognise the boundaries of the Christmas season, she said.
In Cork, crowds were reported mingling on the Grand Parade, the Coal Quay, Patrick Street on Saturday night. Gardaí dealt with the large crowds in line with current Level 5 restrictions.
A garda spokesperson said: “We responded to reports of a large gathering of people on the South Mall. The crowds we encountered were asked to move on in compliance with the current Level 5 regulations. There were no breaches of regulations detected.
"The people we encountered were easy to deal with. They were asked to disperse and they did without any further incident. There were no further incidents arising from the crowds who had gathered. There were no arrests made,” said the garda spokesperson.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin will speak with the Minister for Justice today in a bid to address problems associated with takeaway drinking.
Images emerged over the weekend on social media of large crowds gathered between South Mall and Grand Parade in Cork city on Saturday evening, despite strict Covid-19 guidelines on public gatherings.
Mr Martin toldhe was very concerned after seeing the pictures.
“It was disappointing to see the large crowds who had gathered. It is unacceptable.
“It endangers the efforts of all within society who are doing everything to adhere to our current restrictions. We are all working so hard to keep the level of cases down.
“It also undermines the efforts of our frontline workers and our hospitals.
“We need to reduce the number of cases in our hospitals and the number of ICU beds being used.”