VFI Chief says government should consider prohibition in Ireland to prevent house parties 3 months ago

VFI Chief says government should consider prohibition in Ireland to prevent house parties

"If they’re really serious about tackling the house parties... they’ve really got to look at whether they are going to be allowed alcohol to continue to be sold in supermarkets."

The CEO of the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) has said the government should consider the introduction of prohibition in an effort to prevent house parties in Ireland.

Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast on Thursday morning, VFI CEO Padraig Cribben suggested the government should consider the radical move after it was confirmed that pubs in Ireland would not be permitted to reopen until 10 August and not 20 July, as had recently been scheduled as part of government plans to ease Covid-19 restrictions.

It was also confirmed on Wednesday evening that social visits to other people's homes would be limited to 10 people with no more than four different households.

The move was taken after Acting Chief Medical Officer Ronan Glynn highlighted an increase in clusters of cases of Covid-19 in recent weeks linked with people congregating within homes. The Taoiseach himself admitted that “house parties are a problem”.

In a VFI statement on Wednesday evening, Padraig Cribben described the decision to delay the reopening of pubs as a “hammer blow” to the industry and said that it would have huge ramifications for family-run pubs across Ireland.

“As controlled venues we believe these pubs should be allowed open as they are far safer than the likes of uncontrolled house parties and pose little threat to public health,” Cribben said.

Elaborating on the statement on Newstalk Breakfast on Thursday morning, Cribben suggested that if the government really wants to stop house parties, it should look at whether alcohol should continue to be sold in supermarkets.

“The real issue that we’re seeing around the country is we’re seeing it in house parties and we are actually seeing quite a growth in illegal shebeens growing up around the country,” he said.

“And here’s the question: If Government are really serious and if they’re really serious about tackling the house parties, I think that they’ve really got to look at whether they are going to be allowed alcohol to continue to be sold in supermarkets."

Asked if he was suggesting alcohol shouldn’t be allowed to be sold in supermarkets, Cribben responded:

“I am asking that question because if the issue is around house parties and if the issue is around young people congregating, I’m asking that question, because if that is where the issue is emanating from, you have got to tackle where the issue is coming from.”

Asked if the government should consider a move as radical as prohibition, Cribben said:

"I think that government really need to look at the contributory factor that house parties are creating to this problem and indeed to other problems in the current situation and I think they’ve got to consider whether they’re on the right course.”

Pressed again on whether the government should consider what effectively would be prohibition, Cribben replied: Yes, the government should be looking at that.”

You can listen to the conversation in full here.