All pubs should have been allowed to open at the same time due to the “pent-up demand” people felt after being in lockdown, the head of the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland (VFI) has said.
It comes as examples of busy streets around Dublin city pubs on Saturday evening were shared on social media.
Pubs that served food have been allowed to open since last Monday while pubs that do not serve food can reopen on July 29.
Padraig Cribben, of the VFI, said: “We believe that all pubs should have been allowed to open at the same time for a number of reasons, one of which was – there was a pent-up demand for people to get out after the lockdown.
If all the pubs had have been allowed to reopen at the same time, then I think we would have seen less of what we were seeing over the weekendPadraig Cribben, Vintners' Federation of Ireland
“We now see about 45% of pubs open, with very big crowds trying to get back in.
“If all the pubs had have been allowed to reopen at the same time, then I think we would have seen less of what we were seeing over the weekend.”
He added however that such scenes were “unacceptable” and condemned publicans for breaking the guidelines.
Mr Cribben said most pubs are sticking to the rules and those that are not should be shut down.
Gardai this weekend carried out searches of pubs around the country to make sure they were complying with health and safety rules.
Mr Cribben said: “The overwhelming majority of publicans are operating in a responsible manner – they’re just not my words but also the words of the Minister for Justice based on the feedback from the gardai over the weekend.
“Equally, it is important to say that there is a small minority of publicans who are not following the guidelines and we believe they should be called out. We believe they should be closed and the gardai should bring as much pressure as they can on to them.”
He said pubs that break the rules “are doing the trade irreparable damage”.