DUBLIN CITY centre was positively bustling this past Saturday, with throngs of people returning to the streets of the capital for the first Saturday since pubs began reopening in Ireland.
However, pictures and video captured in the Irish capital have sparked concern that many are failing to comply with the current public health guidelines concerning social distancing.
Pubs and bars selling food reopened for the first time in three months this past Monday as part of Phase Three of the Irish government’s plans for lifting lockdown.
With restaurants and cafes also returning after months of lockdown restrictions, Dublin city centre was awash with visitors this weekend.
Under the rules, groups should stay a minimum of two metres from one another.
But footage captured by Newstalk reporter Barry Whyte on Dame Lane on Saturday has many questioning whether the public are sticking to the recommendations.
"Gardai walking around the streets in Dublin City Centre to make sure pubs are not breaking the guidelines on social distancing, serving food or time limits etc," Whyte wrote.
“Yet this is allowed on Dame Lane….”
The video sparked angry responses on Twitter.
"This is a [middle finger]to everyone from the ICU staff who worked 24/7 looking after people who had die alone, to schoolkids missing out on school cos grown ups can’t stop getting their selfish on," one angry follower wrote.
Photographs were also published showing crowded streets, though in the majority of images shared online, groups appeared to be largely keeping themselves to themselves.
Gardai walking around the streets in Dublin City Centre to make sure pubs are not breaking the guidelines on social distancing, serving food or time limits etc
Yet this is allowed on Dame Lane..... pic.twitter.com/4inEgsY2Rm
— Barry Whyte (@BarryWhyte85) July 4, 2020
Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast in response to the footage, intensive care physician Dr Catherine Motherway called on the public to take more personal responsibility to help prevent any re-emergence of coronavirus.
“One of the most important things we have to do is educate and empower our populations on how to live with this virus. We do need to have personal responsibility,"” she said.
“You can look into an establishment if you want to go for a drink - which we’d all like to do after the long period of time - and you can actually be responsible: if it doesn’t look safe, don’t enter.
“If you’re socialising with your friends… try to keep meeting the same group of people so you minimise your contact with lots of different people. That’s how we’re going to have to live for the next period of time.”