Minister of State calls for review of off-license opening hours and volume of alcohol people can purchase
“When you see shopping trolleys being pushed out of supermarkets with nothing in it only alcohol, you know that there’s a problem.”
Minister of State Patrick O’Donovan has called for a review of the times alcohol is sold in off-licenses and supermarkets in Ireland and of the volume of alcohol that people can purchase at any one time.
The Limerick TD was asked about the issue on Today with Claire Byrne on RTÉ Radio One on Wednesday, having raised it at a Fine Gael parliamentary party on Tuesday night.
O’Donovan said that social gatherings such as house parties and “the uncontrolled consumption of alcohol” had a huge part to play in the spread of Covid-19 throughout the country and that the manner in which alcohol is sold should be addressed.
“We know that house parties are a huge part of the problem,” O’Donovan said.
“And we know that alcohol is a huge part of the problem. And we know that the uncontrolled consumption of alcohol is a problem.
“And I expressed a personal opinion last night that I believe that we need to look at it – I’m not suggesting for one minute that we need to close off-licenses – but I certainly think that it’s part of the programme for living with Covid that we need to examine, for instance, opening hours, maybe the volumes that people are allowed to purchase at any one time.”
O’Donovan, who pointed out that his brother is a publican, said that the sale of alcohol in supermarkets, as well as off-licenses, is a cause for concern.
While he didn’t suggest alternative opening hours for off-licenses or measures that could be taken to limit the volume of alcohol sold to individuals, he suggested that a culture has developed where people seem comfortable with the idea of private indoor gatherings.
“When you see shopping trolleys being pushed out of supermarkets with nothing in it only alcohol, you know that there’s a problem,” O’Donovan added.
"We are asking people to exercise common sense here. Where you have obvious... slabs of cans and numerous bottles being taken home, you know that they are not being taken home for an after-dinner aperitif, they’re being taken home for a house party.
“We cannot pretend that house parties aren't going on when they are.
“Unfortunately, a culture has developed where people think this is OK. This is not OK.”