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Irish Government Mulling Over “Alcohol Curfew” To Curb Lockdown Drinking

Irish Government Mulling Over “Alcohol Curfew” To Curb Lockdown Drinking

Leo Varadkar told radio that the government is thinking about instituting an alcohol curfew to stop pubs selling takeaway pints.

Mike Wood

Mike Wood

The Irish government is considering bringing in an alcohol curfew in order to curb outdoor drinking during the lockdown period.

Tanaiste Leo Varadkar spoke about the idea yesterday, suggesting that bringing in new measures could help deter people from meeting in the streets to enjoy takeaway pints.

"We're working on new public health regulations that strengthen the law in this regard around drinking alcohol in public streets, and that will give the Gardaí more powers of enforcement," he told Newstalk Radio.

"When it comes to selling takeaway alcohol, that's not illegal - anybody who's getting their takeaway [...] you can get your bottle of wine or bottle of beer with that, nobody wants to ban that. A lot of people are going to be relying on takeaways for the next couple of weeks."

Varadkar suggested that, while staying within the bounds of the current law, those selling takeaway pints were straying from the spirit of it.

"It seems that the publicans kind of get around this by serving a pint and putting a lid on it - and that's not on," said the former Taoiseach.

"We don't want to have to shut down the off licenses or shut down the pubs and say 'you can't sell bottles of beer or you can't sell cans for people to take home."

"We're certainly going to further enforce the existing ban of people drinking outdoors in public streets."

"What we could potentially do is ban the sale of all alcohol after a certain point of time in the day. It's that type of thing that we're looking at."

Several countries have instituted similar laws as part of their restrictions. Sweden brought in an alcohol curfew that banned sales after 10pm back in November.

South Africa - one of the worst affected nations in the world at the moment - banned all alcohol sales in an attempt to stop social mixing and to keep hospitals free for COVID patients.

"Reckless behaviour due to alcohol intoxication has contributed to increased transmission," said South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. "Alcohol-related accidents and violence are putting pressure on our hospital emergency units."

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Topics: Ireland