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Arrest made at rural pub in Mayo that reopened after ensuring patrons tested negative for Covid-19

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Donal Byrne, owner of Eileen's Bar in Aghamore, Mayo, as he prepares to open his pub. Photo: Paul Mealey

Donal Byrne, owner of Eileen's Bar in Aghamore, Mayo, as he prepares to open his pub. Photo: Paul Mealey

Donal Byrne, owner of Eileen's Bar in Aghamore, Mayo, as he prepares to open his pub. Photo: Paul Mealey

GARDAÍ last night detained at the premises a publican who reopened his bar after ensuring every patron had tested negative for Covid-19.

Donal Byrne, the owner of Eileen’s Bar, in Aghamore, Co Mayo, did a series of media interviews yesterday outlining his plans to reopen.

Speaking prior to his arrest Byrne, who is a successful entrepreneur and businessman told independent,.ie he believed there is a “gaping hole in these regulations and I want to fix it.”

A garda spokesperson last night confirmed officers visited and cleared a premises, while one person was arrested and the names of other patrons were recorded. Mr Byrne, a successful businessman, made the decision not to serve food as he said “food does not stop or prevent Covid, but testing does.”

He had said every patron would be tested in an outside area and would have the results within 15 minutes, whereupon they can enter the pub and drink.

“We are only open to regulars and we will offer them the safest way to enjoy a pint in Ireland,” he said. He said Covid swabs would be carried out by medical professionals at the pub between 5pm and 7pm every evening. Once a patron tested negative, they were allowed to enter and must adhere to social distancing, the wearing of masks and hand-sanitising, with a maximum of 20 people allowed.

Mr Byrne said he was prepared to deal with the consequences of his decision to reopen. He said if the gardaí call to the pub he would “deal with it”. “The gardaí are safer calling to my premises than they are calling to a house party because everyone in my premises will have been Covid-tested,” said Mr Byrne.

Mr Byrne previously said the decision to keep pubs closed was short-sighted.

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