Publicans say "antigen testing may play a part" in indoor dining reopening
The VFI said that the Covid pass system would create a "two-tier society".
Padraig Cribben Chief Executive of the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) has suggested that antigen testing could be used as an alternative to the Covid pass when indoor dining reopens.
Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast Weekends, Cribbed said that antigen testing could help pubs and restaurants open indoors earlier than anticipated - however, he added that there are issues that would need to be analysed before the rollout.
"Antigen testing may play a part but if I live in rural Ireland and I decide tomorrow night I want to go to the local pub for a couple of pints, where am I going to get an antigen test?" he said.
"Generally, with visits to pubs, some are planned, and obviously in the current situation, almost all have to be planned.
"But a lot of the visits to pubs are impulse, and on impulse, we don't get antigen testing.
"Who's going to pay for antigen testing? In many places across Europe, the governments pick up the tab for antigen testing. I'm not so sure the same appetite for that will be with our government."
Cribben also said that he believes the system of reopening pubs exclusively for vaccinated people wouldn't work for "a host of reasons", adding that he thinks it would create a "two-tier society".
"We believe that publicans, restauranteurs using this will be open to legal challenge under equality law, under discrimination law, under GDPR," he continued.
"It's also not workable from the point of view of it creating a two-tier society."
Micheál Martin said last week that the Government will "need to look at" measures other than the proposed vaccine pass when reopening indoor dining.
The Taoiseach said he is "open to measures" such as ventilation and testing when it comes time to look at the reopening of indoor hospitality.
He said that the other measures would be a pivot from the "robust and enforceable" vaccine pass system suggested by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET).
Speaking in the Dáil on Wednesday, Martin said that they have already "been looking" at other possible measures.
"In terms of other measures, I agree, we do need to look at other measures in terms of hospitality, including testing and ventilation - and we have been looking," he added.