PUBLICANS around County Clare were compliant with the latest Covid-19 regulations when gardaí carried out spot-checks last weekend. All the pubs were serving meals and social distancing was being observed by customers, according to a local senior garda.
Gardaí initiated Operation Navigation on Friday evening last, amid concern that some establishments are flouting regulations designed to suppress Covid-19. Bars which serve a meal costing at least €9 with drink could open their doors on June 29, as socialising restrictions eased. Pubs that do not operate a restaurant-style service must remain closed until Phase 4 of the roadmap begins on July 20.
“We had an extensive round of inspections in all areas of the Clare Garda Division – town and villages – and all was in order. All Garda patrols were involved,” said Superintendent Brendan McDonagh. He added that anecdotal accounts of only a few meals being served where a large quantity of drink was being consumed hadn’t been found during the spot-checks.
“We did not see anything in any pubs that we should be concerned about. We will continue to be vigilant though and when the pubs not serving food reopen on July 20, we will continue our spot-checks. Social distancing will still be an issue to monitor and this will be for all licensed premises, probably into the new year,” said Superintendent McDonagh.
Deputy Commissioner, policing and security, John Twomey stated that when licenced premises were initially shut under the public health guidelines gardaí checked thousands of pubs to ensure they remained closed, which the vast majority did.
“Our intention in this latest phase was to conduct a large number of spot-checks of licensed premises. However, it now appears that just a few days after their introduction some licensed premises and their customers are ignoring the public health guidelines.
“In supporting the Covid-19 public health regulations and guidelines, An Garda Síochána has, and will continue to, adopt, a graduated policing response based on its tradition of policing by consent. This has seen Garda members engage, educate, encourage and, as a last resort, enforce.
“Where potential breaches of the Public Health Regulations are identified, and where a person does not come into compliance with the regulations, a file is submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions for a direction as to how to proceed,” said Deputy Commissioner Twomey.