LEO VARADKAR claims that opening up Ireland's pubs will lead to more house parties, not fewer.
The Tánaiste was speaking in the Dáil on Thursday ahead of the Government's lockdown exit plan announcement this evening.
Sources suggest that Cabinet have decided to reopen gastropubs and restaurants next week in an attempt to discourage people gathering in their homes and throwing house parties instead.
But Varadkar feels this logic is flawed.
Addressing his fellow TDs, he questioned the idea that the availability of alcohol in a "controlled" setting such as a pub, would actually reduce the spread of Covid-19.
"Just because people can gather in a pub, doesn't mean that an equal number of home gatherings won't happen," Varadkar said.
He also argued that due to the fact that 'wet' pubs are to remain closed, house party numbers over the festive period were likely to increase, as limits on table sizes and length of stay in gastropubs and restaurants won't be enough to satisfy those looking for a drinking session with their friends at Christmas.
"It's very possible that people having spent a few hours, or a night in the pub will then return to somebody's house and have a party there," the Tánaiste added.
"So I don't think that this idea that if you open the pubs there will be fewer house parties is necessarily true.
"You might actually end up with the same number, or even more, and therefore increase risk."