FOOTAGE OF a large crowd of people defiantly flouting Ireland’s public health guidance in Killarney has surfaced online.
In the video, shared on Twitter, a vast assortment of revellers can be seen congregating outside a branch of Eason, a stationery and gifts retailer in the city.
It’s not clear whether the group have been drinking at a nearby pub, though several glasses and open alcohol containers are visible in the clip along with takeaway boxes.
A crowd of people can be seen drinking and singing on Killarney’s Main Street with little regard for social distancing guidelines or mask use.
Men and women can be seen drinking on both sides of the street, blocking off cars and throwing discarded rubbish.
At one point, a man strips to his underpants and climbs on top of a telephone box housing a defibrillator.
The footage has drawn a mixed reaction online, with one commenter describing it as a "two fingers to government protest party".
Those defiant sentiments were echoed by another follower who sarcastically responded: "I know looks like a great night, I hope this really doesn’t upset the government, they have been through so much lately the poor fellas."
Others were more critical of the scenes.
"142 cases yesterday including cases in Kerry," one wrote.
"With this sort of behaviour in Killarney last night you wonder how long we go before we are sent back into lockdown?"
"We ain’t ever getting out of this," another said.
"Killarney publicans have serious questions to answer," a third added.
"Stupid behaviour but someone served them the drink. Stay away from Kerry if that’s how you behave."
Some, however defended it.
"Government can’t condemn this while encouraging people to travel the country taking staycations. too many mixed messages and people are getting fed up."
— Jerry O'Sullivan (@jerosullivanRK) August 30, 2020
The footage comes at the end of a week in which three Irish politicians, including EU trade commissioner Phil Hogan, were forced to resign after it emerged they had attended a gathering of more than 80 people just days after tightening Covid-19 restrictions on gatherings.
In a clear breach of the rules they helped put in place, ministers attended an Irish parliamentary golf society event in Clifden, County Galway.
It came in the wake of a change to Ireland's restrictions, which saw the number of people allowed to attend indoor gatherings reduced from 50 to just six.
News of the event has sparked fury across Ireland, where millions have been living under the tightening restrictions put in place to stem the rise in cases of Covid-19.
The Irish government has already issued a statement confirming parliament is returning early from its summer recess to address the fallout from the scandal.