Leo Varadkar defends decision to prevent live music when pubs reopen - if there is loud music "people will shout" 6 months ago

Leo Varadkar defends decision to prevent live music when pubs reopen - if there is loud music "people will shout"

"If there is loud music or live music people will speak louder and they will shout."

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has defended the decision of Fáilte Ireland to prevent live music when pubs reopen, saying it is an issue of "public health".

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Independent TD Mattie McGrath questioned the Tánaiste in the Dáil after Fáilte Ireland released guidelines on Wednesday which stated that no live music would be permitted when pubs and restaurants reopen.

"We're supposed to be a country that prides ourselves in our traditional song and dance and our culture, why is this?...what have you got against the arts industry?...are you trying to kill the spirit of our nation altogether?" McGrath asked Varadkar on Thursday.

"I mean, what is going on? Fáilte Ireland should be getting people back into this country on our national airlines."

McGrath asked the Tánaiste to "let people live again" and allow music to be allowed at least outside premises.

"I can totally appreciate that this was very disappointing news for people who work in the live music sector," Varadkar replied.

Varadkar added that Fáilte Ireland are "big supporters" of the arts and entertainment industries.

"The reason for it though and you should know this if you don't know this, the reason for it is one of public health," he told McGrath.

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"If there is loud music or live music people will speak louder and they will shout."

Varadkar was cut off by McGrath who shouted the word "outside", and chose to sit down stating "I don't think he [McGrath] wants the answer".

Restaurants will need to stick to a maximum of six adults and nine children per table when they reopen, under new guidelines issued by Fáilte Ireland on Wednesday.

Pubs and restaurants will also need to close by 11.30 pm and no live music will be allowed under the new guidelines.

A time limit of 105 minutes will also apply to indoor dining in cases where a two-metre social distancing of tables cannot be maintained. There will be no time limit for outdoor tables.

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The document, which was initially due to be published on Tuesday evening, does not confirm how long the measures will remain in place.

Outdoor dining is set to return on 7 June with the Government set to meet on Friday to discuss the reopening of indoor dining and other sectors across the summer.

Under the guidelines, outdoor service will be allowed for a "maximum of six persons aged 13 or over per table" however, this will not apply to children under 13 as up to nine children aged 12 or below will also be allowed at a table.

The guidelines also say that physical distancing of two metres should be maintained between tables inside restaurants and pubs.

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The document adds that this distance may be reduced to one metre if plexiglass barriers and limits on crowds can be maintained - however, in these instances, a time limit of 105 minutes and pre-booking will need to be in place.

The €9 substantial meal rule will also be scrapped under the new measures.