Micheál Martin responds to claims that he is "protecting the pubs in Dublin"
"There's nothing I would like better right now than a pint in some rural pub."
Micheál Martin has said that he does not have anything against rural pubs, amid claims that he has been protecting pubs in Dublin.
Speaking on Wednesday, Martin said that there is "nothing he would like better" than to be in a rural pub in the west of Ireland drinking a pint.
However, he said that this is not possible at the minute, and that he may not be able to do it "for quite some time yet".
"That's not the fault of the Government. It's not the fault of anybody. It's the fault of a virus."
He continued: "The ultimate objective of Government is to protect human lives. The bottom line is we could have taken the decision to open the pubs, but we would have done it clearly in the knowledge that we would have been contributing to an exponential rise in numbers fairly quickly. That is unfortunately the issue."
This came after Martin was told that local businesses in rural Ireland are lying "in ruins" thanks to his decisions.
"You've led to their destruction, and it will never be forgotten", Martin was told by TDs who were appealing for rural pubs to be reopened.
The LVA recently claimed that the Government used "misleading data" when it made its decision to keep wet pubs closed.