OFFIE THEIR HEADS

Booze sales un­der threat over ‘par­ties fu­elling virus’ Level 5 lock­down ‘within days’ as crisis talks con­tinue

Irish Sunday Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - BY LIZ FARSACI and CILLIAN O’BRIEN

OFF LI­CENCE trad­ing was in doubt last night as Govern­ment con­sid­ered tighter Level 5 rules.

The Cabi­net dis­cussed re­duced open­ing while Min­is­ter Robert Troy in­sisted on look­ing at “re­stric­tions up to and pos­si­bly in­clud­ing clo­sure”.

As a record 1,276 cases were con­firmed, a vint­ners’ spokesman warned re­tail booze sales were “fu­elling house par­ties that are the main cause of these Covid

in­fec­tions”. The Vint­ners Fed­er­a­tion of Ire­land said it was un­fair that pubs, which are con­trolled en­vi­ron­ments, are be­ing pun­ished while al­co­hol for house par­ties can con­tinue to be sold in off li­cences.

A spokesman told the Ir­ish Sun­day Mir­ror: “Pubs are al­ready at Level 4 so any change in re­stric­tions in the com­ing days will prob­a­bly have lit­tle im­pact on the sec­tor that is re­duced to serv­ing 15 cus­tomers out­doors.

“The off li­cences re­mained open dur­ing the last lock­down and will prob­a­bly re­main open even if we move to Level 5.

“The prob­lem with off li­cences is they are fu­elling the house gath­er­ings that are the main cause of Covid in­fec­tions.”

But the Li­censed Vint­ners As­so­ci­a­tion, which rep­re­sents pub­li­cans in Dublin, said it would not sup­port re­stric­tions on off li­cences.

Mean­while, Fianna Fail Min­is­ter of State for Trade Pro­mo­tion Robert Troy said the Govern­ment should con­sider ban­ning booze sales from off li­cences and su­per­mar­kets.

He told RTE’S Katie Han­non: “We need to look at how we could re­strict the open­ing hours, maybe in­tro­duce a quota sys­tem. So many public health ex­perts have said the virus loves al­co­hol.”

Dr Anne Dee, a public health con­sul­tant at the HSE, told RTE Ire­land’s health ser­vice could very quickly be over­whelmed and be in a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion to Italy this year.

She said: “It’s not im­pos­si­ble, we just need to keep go­ing the rate we’re go­ing.

“The tra­jec­tory is very fright­en­ingly up­wards. A lot of it does go back to so­cial­is­ing, mix­ing and con­sump­tion of al­co­hol.”

FACING CLO­SURE Off li­censes un­der fire in talks last night

STRICT Min­is­ter Robert Troy

WARN­ING Dr Anne Dee

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