Pub owners call for clarity after Gardaí say selling alcohol at outdoor seating is "illegal"
VFI Chief Executive Padraig Cribben said that he wrote to the Department of Justice to ask for clarity on the situation.
Pub owners have called for clarity after Gardaí said that selling alcohol at outdoor seating is "illegal" in a statement on Sunday.
VFI Chief Executive Padraig Cribben said that he wrote to the Department of Justice to ask for clarity on the situation, saying that Gardaí discretion was not being administered evenly.
Speaking on RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland on Monday, Cribben said he had written to the Minister for Justice on 10 June to express his concerns.
Cribben is calling on the Minister for Justice to bring forward a statutory instrument to cover these grey areas over the coming months.
He said that while the hospitality sector had been told to prepare for an outdoor summer and grants were given by Government, there was still ambiguity about areas where local authorities had granted permission for outdoor dining areas.
Cribben added that Gardaí had been left in “no man’s land” when it comes to policing outdoor dining. He said that policy and direction "need to come fast".
Meanwhile, speaking on the same programme RAI chief executive Adrian Cummins also called on the Government to bring forward a statutory instrument to provide clarity for business owners selling alcohol at newly set up outdoor seating areas.
Cummins said "we shouldn't be talking about this issue" as Government should have known about the issue when they allowed outdoor hospitality to reopen.
"The Government needs to fix this problem, otherwise it will have been pointless for businesses to invest so much capital expenditure for outdoor dining," he said.
It comes as Gardaí said on Sunday that people cannot drink alcohol in seating spaces recently set up on streets in front of bars and restaurants, which are not covered by their licences.
Councils have set up seating areas in towns and cities across the country to facilitate the growing need for outdoor dining this month.
However, Gardaí have now said that food and drink outlets selling food and alcohol are restricted to "takeaway" or selling "for consumption off the premises".
They added that while local authorities may provide permission for additional seating outside of licensed premises, these spaces are not covered for the consumption of alcohol by the licence issued by the District Court.