Decision to keep Dublin pubs closed is "grossly unfair", Licensed Vintners Association says
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Decision to keep Dublin pubs closed is "grossly unfair", Licensed Vintners Association says

THE LICENSED Vinters Association has accused the National Public Health Emergency Team of being "anti-pub" amid the news that pubs in Dublin will remain closed.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Tánaiste Leo Varadkar announced today that while pubs which do not serve food would be allowed to open in 25 counties in the Republic of Ireland from 21 September, pubs in Dublin would remain closed due to the rising number of coronavirus cases in the county.

Further restrictions in the Dublin area include no more than six people from two households being allowed to gather in people's homes.

Donall O'Keefe, CEO of the Licensed Vintners Association, which represents pubs in the capital, slammed the decision as "grossly unfair" and accused NPHET of being "anti-pub".

"They have taken a negative line on the industry throughout this crisis," Mr O'Keefe told RTÉ News At One, pointing out that 'wet' pubs have now been closed for more than six months, and the reopening of businesses in Dublin have now been pushed back for at least another three weeks.

Publicans are "very concerned, very upset, very angry and very worried about the future", he said, adding that at least 12 pubs who are members of the LVA have been forced to close their doors for good.

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The LVA is "running out of words to describe how devastated and disappointing this whole situation is", he went on, saying the industry is being treated "unfairly and disproportionately".

Since wet pubs have been closed since 15 March, they have not contributed whatsoever to the rise in cases seen in Dublin and elsewhere in Ireland, he argued, and publicans should be allowed to prove their businesses can operate safely.

Under the Government's new 6-month roadmap for 'Living with Covid',  5 levels have been introduced, with changes to restrictions depending on the rise in cases in each area.

Ireland is currently at Level 2, which will allow wet pubs to operate with restrictions in place-- except for Dublin.

To learn more about the 6-month plan and what each level means, you can read our explanation  here.