Taoiseach Pushed to Legislate to Fix the Fiasco Factory Hammering the Hospitality Industry - Tóibín
In response to questions posed by Aontú Leader Peadar Tóibín TD at Leaders Questions, the Taoiseach has stated that the government will introduce a new Legal Instrument to resolve the crisis in outdoor dining and drinking.
An Teachta Tóibín stated;
“The Government made millions of euro of grant aid available to pubs and restaurants to sell food and drink in areas where it was illegal to do so according to bye laws.
Hospitality, Tourism and Aviation have been calling out for Rapid Antigen Testing since it was given approval by the EU last December. But government does not like the word Rapid and cant make a decision.
The Minister for “Making things Up and You Go Along” has concocted a solution to the confusion.
She has called on the Gardaí to close their eyes and say nothing.
Restaurant and Pubs will in many parts of the country operate at the pleasure of local Gardaí. Discretion could mean that one restaurant maybe treated differently than another.
Garda representatives have said “When things go wrong our members are left having to defend their actions. They are worried that Gardaí will “be scapegoated for impossible decisions that have to be made. Taoiseach I have never seen a government tie itself up in knots with such confusion before. Will you now open all hospitality together under the same science and the same regulations?
“This is having serious consequence. Its not just for two weeks. Even when pubs and restaurants reopen for indoor dining on July 5th many people will not want to go indoors to eat, many will want to remain outside. Also capacity will be reduced indoors meaning that outdoor capacity will still be necessary.
There is also a question of Insurance that has not been considered. Many pubs and restaurants will have applied to the council and paid for extra public liability for the public areas that they are using. But if insurance is tied to licence and Garda say that the licence does not extend to an area where drink is prohibited where does that leave pubs and restaurants?
I am also told that there is a backlog in some Local Authorities in the issuing of pub and restaurant licences. That some establishments are operating while waiting for a licence. Where does this leave their insurance? Many other small businesses may have just put out tables and chairs on to the street in a bid to stay in business. Where lies their insurance. Are business expected to rely on hope in the Four Courts if they are sued.
Taoiseach, the government’s mismanagement of the hospitality sector has been a car crash. The collateral damage has been many may pubs and restaurants some of whom have been closed for 420 days. No other country in the rest of Europe closed hospitality for so long. As of today, I could find no other country in Europe where restaurants remain closed for indoor dining. Denmark and Finland, two countries with similar levels of vaccination and mortality have had their pubs and restaurants open for indoor dining and drinking since April and May.
Here in Ireland Hotels have been allowing indoor dining since the 1st week of June. The Táiniste has stated himself that there is no science behind the decision to treat Hotels and pubs and restaurants differently.
We have had incredible confusion on our streets. The government paid hundreds of thousands of euro, on marketing to encourage people to have an outdoor summer and at the same time Gardaí baton charged young people off the streets.
For weeks the government allowed publicans to serve take away pints to thousands of people milling around our streets but banned pubs selling drinks if customers were sitting safely and socially distanced at their table outside.
Taoiseach this is no way to govern a country. What instrument legal instrument will you introduce and when will you legislate to end the fiasco factory that is hammering the hospitality sector”.