Garda raids on pubs breaking Covid-19 rules
Gardaí has issued its first closure order on a licensed premises where rules designed to save lives through curtailing Covid-19 were being repeatedly broken.
Gardaí have also outlined the results of other flagrant infringements or regulations which ranged from sheebeen, late opening, big crowds and gambling.
A statement said Gardaí carried out thousands of inspections of licensed premised from Friday to Sunday, December 18 - 20. They say the vast majority of premises continue to be compliant but some were breach of regulations.
The most extreme was in the north west of the country where Gardaí issued the first ‘Immediate Closure Order’ to a licensed premises under section 4 Criminal Justice (Enforcement Powers) (Covid-19) Act, 2020.
"Despite repeated engagement by local Gardaí with the licensee, Gardaí continued to observe breaches of Covid-19 regulations including persistent non-compliance with requirement to serve substantial meal, in addition to non-adherence to public health guidelines, resulting in the local Superintendent issuing an ‘Immediate Closure Order’ on the premises for the remainder of that date," said the gardaí.
A further file will be prepared for consideration by the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Over the last 48 hours Gardaí say they continued to detect breaches of Covid-19 regulations by licensed premises across the country uncovering some of the following:
- Dublin Region
Licenced Premises inspected at 10.30pm, 180-200 persons present, no food being served, no social distancing.
Licenced premises inspected at 01.30am, 25 persons inside, fresh pints pulled, no social distancing, No food being served.
- Southern Region
Licenced Premises inspected 00.35am, 30 people present, seated inside the premises with full drinks and no food.
20 - 25 patrons on premises. Licensee sitting at table with patrons, no social distancing, patrons at another table observed in a huddle talking with arms around each other, no facemasks worn by licensee or staff. Fresh alcoholic beverages on tables. No evidence of any food and premises operating outside permitted times.
Food preparation area is not located in premises, but adjacent to smoking area out the back under a gazebo.
Food preparation in contravention of Regulations - the bar manager indicated an oven where pizzas were heated.
- North West Region
Hotel premises inspected 9.20pm. Roughly 100 persons in the function room. No social distancing, no food served, groups gathered on tables numbering 12 or more, a number of persons intoxicated in the room. Lounge down stairs had around 50 persons drinking and reception area similar, while outside car loads began to arrive but turned back.
Check at licenced premises 8.30pm - little evidence of food being consumed, approximately 80 people on the premises drinking alcohol. No times on contact tracing register, no order book, nine individual invoices with an average of three meals on each, dates on these had been changed. Inspected kitchen - no food being cooked.
- Eastern Region
Inspection of Sports Club - 20 persons on the premises, no food on the tables, no contact tracing list, no chef present, kitchen closed,
House searched under the Gaming and Lotteries Act. Unlicensed organised gaming session in progress - 8 people in attendance from all different households.
Search carried out in suspected shebeen - 30 people socialising. People wore no face coverings, no social distancing, and were consuming intoxicating liquor, evidence seized.
Gardaí insist that they continue to adopt the approach of 4Es Engage, Explain, Encourage and Enforce in engaging with the public. The also remind every person of their social and personal responsibility not to frequent premises or engage in activity which is likely to contribute to the increasing spread of the Covid-19 virus.
"The Covid-19 pandemic remains a public health crisis and a real threat to everyone, particularly the most vulnerable in our society, the virus is still spreading. It is still leading to serious illness and death," said a statement.
They appealed to all citizens to comply with Public Health Guidelines and Regulations in order to continue to save lives.
Speaking today Deputy Commissioner, Policing and Security, John Twomey, stated: "The vast majority of licensed premises are operating in compliance with public health regulations. Unfortunately, despite this being said by An Garda Síochána numerous times before, disappointingly it appears it must be said again to some licensed premises – Licensed premises that are not adhering to public health regulations are not only committing an offence, but putting at risk the health of their staff, their customers, and their local community.”