CORK TD Sean Sherlock has called on the Government to reopen Irish pubs.
Speaking at a Dáil debate on granting more powers to Gardaí to enforce public health safety measures he called on the Government to give a definite timeline to the publicans who have remained closed since Covid-19 restrictions were introduced in March.
"I would like the Government to give an exact date on which the pubs can reopen. It would give great confidence to publicans throughout the land and it is something they are waiting on with some degree of patience at this stage," said Mr Sherlock.
"I acknowledge this patience, particularly that of those publicans who might have been tempted to move into the food sector but who resisted that temptation because they were confident that the Government could put in place a set of actions which would see them reopening what are, in the main, family-owned and intergenerational businesses.
"Notwithstanding the legislation before us, it is important that we bolt to it a clear timeframe and date for publicans so they can get back to work."
"In my experience frequenting or sitting at bars and speaking to publicans over the past number of weeks, I know they are the policemen and policewomen of their establishments.
"I feel strongly from talking to them that this legislation will not apply to the vast majority of them as they are very good at policing their own houses and being compliant with the law. We will support the legislation, which confers significant powers on the Garda, according to the Minister, but I hope its provisions never have to be used.
"I know that in the vast majority of cases, the publicans I refer to who own their houses and are deeply invested in their communities will continue to police their houses as they always have done."
"We support the legislation but we want a definitive timeline with an exact date by which the pubs can reopen and get back to business in our communities. I have already said we have heard from them and we hear from them day in and day out.
"They have demonstrated a remarkable amount of fortitude when they have seen what has gone on around them in their communities. They have resisted the temptation to flout the law or to do anything that would put them on the wrong side of it, because for the most part they are good and law-abiding citizens. They are great supporters of sporting, community and voluntary organisations."
"The time is now right for them to reopen. I appeal to the Minister to give us a date on which the Government will allow the pubs to reopen."