Gardaí will use "discretion" over outdoor drinking at pubs and restaurants
Confusion reigns over the matter.
Minister for Justice Heather Humphreys has said Gardaí will use their "discretion" to deal with pubs and restaurants who serve alcohol in designated outdoor areas.
It comes as Gardaí said pubs and restaurants are not legally permitted to serve alcohol in the temporary seating areas which have been established outside many premises recently.
Across Ireland, local authorities have permitted businesses to set up seating areas on streets and paths in order to facilitate an outdoor summer until indoor dining resumes later this year.
Indoor drinking and dining remains banned until 5 July under the government’s reopening plan.
The extra space outdoors for customers was facilitated by the government under an outdoor seating scheme which was introduced earlier this month.
However, Gardaí have said these areas are not covered by the alcohol licences originally issued by the District Court and that the sale of alcohol for consumption in these areas is illegal.
On Sunday night, Minister Humphreys said that Gardaí would engage with licensed premises and will use their discretion on the matter.
Welcome statement from @gardainfo that it is working to ensure we can enjoy an outdoor summer and that the vast majority of licensed premises are acting responsibly. @gardainfo will engage with licensed premises and will use their discretion, as they have done throughout Covid
— Heather Humphreys (@HHumphreysFG) June 20, 2021
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".