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16/10/2021

Limerick vintners' rep urges ‘common sense’ over policing of outdoor drinking rules

Limerick vintner's urges ‘common sense’ over policing of outdoor drinking rules

Paul Flannery has called for a 'common-sense' approach

THE Limerick representative of the Vintners Federation of Ireland (VFI) has appealed to gardai to adopt a “common sense approach” when it comes to policing outdoor drinking.

Paul Flannery was speaking after gardai confirmed that legally pubs are not entitled to serve alcohol in temporary seating areas which have sprung up across the city.​

But Commissioner Drew Harris has directed gardai to not penalise licensed premises on this basis.

In a Tweet last week, An Garda Síochana said Mr Harris had “issued an instruction to regional Assistant Commissioners that gardaí should use discretion in relation to licensed premises while also continuing to respond to any public complaints received on matters such as public order, parking, noise etc.”

“Legally, we need to be selling the alcohol on the premises. But the common-sense approach is we cannot have everyone coming into the premises to order drinks. We do need to have table service. This needs to be a pre-requisite in getting cases down,” explained Mr Flannery, who runs his family pub in Shannon Street.

“Common sense needs to prevail here more than everything else. The law is there but at the same time, we need to adjust, manage and control as best as possible our own premises,” he added, “We need to take a step back and realise we are in exceptional times.”

Elsewhere, council has said that if it sees business owners taking over public seating on the city’s streets, it will remind them of “their responsibilities and the need to keep public seating accessible.”

This comes after a number of people highlighted that some businesses in the city centre had used permanent public seating to accommodate additional guests.

A local authority spokesperson said: “It is important that all sectors of society are accommodated, and while the use of spaces for outdoor dining is important, businesses must not obstruct seating areas available to the public. In this case, the owners will be reminded about their responsibilities and the need to keep public seating accessible.”

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