THE GOVERNMENT is to set its sights on the reopening of pubs across Ireland following the successful reopening of schools.
With the Dáil set to return from the summer break, it's understood that opening Ireland's remaining 'wet pubs' is high on the agenda.
"We will have to sort the pubs next after the children get back to school," said one minister, who added that publicans are very 'disillusioned'.
It's estimated that over 3,000 pubs in Ireland remain shut after first closing their doors back in March when the coronavirus pandemic first began.
Pubs that have been able to serve substantial meals to their customers were able to open
The Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) said yesterday that thousands of pubs face defaulting on their mortgages if the government does not step in.
Last week, the government said it was setting out a €16 million rescue package for pubs across the country, though this package was criticised by the LVA for not being substantial enough.
Earlier this month, the government insisted that the reopening of pubs would have to take a back-seat to the reopening of schools, which was considered to be their primary focus.
Following what is predicted to be a successful reopening of schools, and providing that coronavirus cases don't experience any concerning surges, the government will turn its focus to the reopening of pubs, along with returning the health service to normal.
Tánaiste Leo Varadkar pointed out last week that Ireland is the only country in the whole of Europe where pubs remain closed.
Varadkar said he couldn’t put a date on when pubs would be allowed reopen, but added that they should be given a chance to show they can adhere to the public health guidelines.
"I would like to see [pubs] being given a chance," he said.
"Ireland is the only country in Europe where wet pubs are fully closed. In most countries, they are open with some restriction and we're examining exactly where that can be done and we're building on, I think, very good compliance from the restaurant's sector where we’ve only seen one significant cluster out of very many," said Varadkar.