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Crowds 'like All-Ireland final night in city centre'

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Crowds congregate on the street in the city centre

Crowds congregate on the street in the city centre

PA

Crowds congregate on the street in the city centre

A Dublin GP has compared the crowds of people he saw drinking in Dublin city centre over the weekend with an "All-Ireland final night".

Dr Maitiu O Tuathail drove past Dame Lane on Saturday night and said he was "gobsmacked" by what he witnessed.

He is now warning that we could be weeks away from a second wave of Covid-19.

"It was like Dublin on an All-Ireland final night," Dr O Tuathail said. "Covid-19 isn't over.

"On Saturday morning I drove past the Aviva and there was a queue of at least 15 people waiting to get a Covid- 19 test at 9am.

"We went weeks at my practice without anyone having a test, and now this week we have an increasing number looking for testing.

Condemned

"I work with the ambulance service too and they're seeing an increase in requests for home testing.

"This feels like two worlds colliding. After last night, we could be two to three weeks from a second wave.

"Everyone out on Dame Lane on Saturday night was in their 20s and 30s. They may get sick with Covid-19 and pass it on to their mother, father, grandparents and they could die.

"Just one person on Dame Lane with Covid-19 could spread it to hundreds of people, as there's a two-week incubation period."

The Licensed Vintners Asso- ciation (LVA) said it "utterly condemned" the images of crowds drinking in the city.

A spokesman for the group, which represents pubs in Dublin, said such behaviour was "jeopardising public health, given the lack of social distancing observed".

"Unfortunately, scenes like this have been taking place over the last few weekends in Dublin city centre," they added.

"We are reminding pubs who are serving takeout of their responsibilities.

"Legal advice issued by the gardai in May said that any drinks purchased as takeaways must be consumed more than 100 metres from the pub which sold the alcohol.

"The advice also indicated the gardai have the power to confiscate drink being consumed on the road or in a public place.

"We are also aware that members of the public are bringing alcohol purchased from off-licences with them to these locations.

"Such drinking in public spaces presents a terrible image of our city centre.

"It is potentially extremely damaging to public health. It also has a negative impact on the efforts being made by responsible businesses who are beginning the process of recovery.

The LVA said it fully supp-orts measures being taken by gardai to manage these issues."

The group paid tribute to the many pubs across the city that had "traded responsibly" after opening on Monday. It said most pubs and customers are following the guidelines.

Videos

Photos and videos emerged on Saturday night on social media of hundreds of young people congregating to drink.

A spokesman said gardai had been carrying out Operation Navigation since Friday.

"An Garda Siochana has and will continue to adopt a graduated policing response based on its tradition of policing by consent," the spokesman said.

"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 or business 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."