Garda union hits out at "absolute confusion" over outdoor drinking and dining
They use the words "absolute confusion", we'd probably describe it as a "shit show".
The Garda Representative Association (GRA) has said there is "absolute confusion" over the issue of the legality of pubs and restaurants serving alcohol in outdoor areas.
On Sunday, Gardaí confirmed pubs and restaurants are not legally permitted to serve alcohol in the temporary seating areas outside their premises.
This comes after the Government and local councils helped pubs and restaurants to establish outdoor seating in order facilitate an outdoor summer.
Minister for Justice Heather Humphreys on Sunday night said on Sunday night that Gardaí would use their "discretion" when dealing with the matter.
However, vice-president of the GRA, Brendan O'Connor told RTÉ's Morning Ireland the "common sense" approach was causing confusion and leaving its members facing disciplinary issues in the future.
"There is absolute confusion because there are so many different pieces of legislation and statute and it's individual Gardaí and the members we represent that would be sent out and try to police this," O'Connor said.
While the Minister is referring to discretion and common sense which is something that Gardaí would traditionally have always applied, in recent times, the message is coming to our members loud and clear in our own organisation that if you observe any breach of the law, there has to be someone made amenable.
"Our members are facing discipline and other issues in relation to it."
According to RTÉ, the Department of Justice said in a statement that premises "who continue to behave responsibly in controlling their premises should have nothing to worry about".
The DoJ said there were different legal situations depending on whether by-laws are in place.
It also added that a small number of pubs have been serving alcohol outside "agreed areas" and that these would be the focus of "any Garda action in the first instance".