The government will consider banning the sale of alcohol after a certain time in the day, according to Tánaiste Leo Varadkar.
This will be in an attempt to reduce the numbers of people congregating after buying ‘takeaway pints’, which Taoiseach Micheál Martin yesterday called on people to “forget about” during this lockdown.
During the second lockdown, publicans reported that people congregated in city streets while enjoying their takeaway pints.
Speaking with Pat Kenny on Newstalk, Mr Varadkar said that takeaway pints cannot be banned.
“We’re certainly going to further enforce the existing ban on people drinking outdoors in public streets.
“We are looking at other measures then around the sale of alcohol but it’s actually not that straightforward, people say, ‘Takeaway pints are a problem - ban them’. You can't actually just do that, you would have to ban all takeaway alcohol and that would create problems then for restaurants and takeaways who really need that business now and our off licenses too,” he explained.
He said that the government will examine banning the sale of alcohol after a certain point in the day.
“So what potentially you do is ban the sale of alcohol after a certain point of time in the day and it’s that type of thing we’re looking at.”
Speaking on the same programme, he also said that five factors have led to this third surge - hospitality, house gatherings, allowing intercounty travel from December 18, the UK variant and non-compliance with restrictions.
“The shebeens, the funerals, the wakes, most of those kind of super-spreader type events that we’re hearing about were not in compliance with regulation.
“I don’t think you go from 400 cases per day and a 5pc positivity rate to 7,000 and a 25pc positivity rate because of one thing, it takes a lot of things. If you take those five factors together, that’s probably the best explanation that can be given,” he added.