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Anger over footage showing large crowds in Co Kerry town

It comes as the Government said gardai will receive tough new powers to shut pubs which break Ireland’s coronavirus rules.

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Gardai are set to receive tough new powers to shut pubs which break Ireland’s coronavirus rules (Brian Lawless/PA)

Gardai are set to receive tough new powers to shut pubs which break Ireland’s coronavirus rules (Brian Lawless/PA)

Gardai are set to receive tough new powers to shut pubs which break Ireland’s coronavirus rules (Brian Lawless/PA)

Concerns have been raised about breaches of social distancing after footage emerged showing crowds of people gathering in a Co Kerry town.

Video footage posted on social media shows large groups of people dancing in close proximity and appearing to breach public health guidelines in Killarney.

There has been widespread condemnation of the incident involving dozens of people in the town close to 1am on Sunday.

The Vintners’ Federation of Ireland tweeted: “We all have a duty to behave responsibly.

Killarney is a very busy spot and people have been left very upset by the videoJackie Healy-Rae, councillor

“Scenes last night in Killarney hugely upsetting for everyone following the guidelines and for publicans desperate to open.”

A Twitter page that represents pubs in Co Kerry posted: “Disgusted for all law abiding publicans to see scenes like this in Killarney last night, especially while the majority of pubs are still shut down.

“Close down the business that sold them the takeaway pints immediately and enforce the new garda laws.”

Independent Kerry councillor Jackie Healy-Rae said it was one of multiple incidents in the town.

“Killarney is a very busy spot and people have been left very upset by the video,” he said.

“We have teachers and students going back to school this week and some teachers and parents are uneasy about returning to school but they are going back as they have to.

“To see that type of behaviour is not acceptable.

“People are angry and it makes Killarney look bad. This is not the type of behaviour we want here.”

It comes as the Government said gardai will receive tough new powers to shut pubs which break Ireland’s coronavirus rules.

Fines of up to 2,500 euros or a maximum of six months in prison will be the sanction if bars infringing social distancing regulations refuse to close for a day.

Closure orders could be issued by a district court resulting in a pub being shut for up to 30 days.

Plans to reopen drink-only hostelries have been put on hold again as the Government attempts to contain the number of cases.

Tanaiste Leo Varadkar announced a 16 million euro support package for pubs, bars and nightclubs which are enduring a prolonged wait to raise shutters.

The new initiatives included waiving court fees and associated excise and stamp duties relating to the renewal of pub and other liquor licences and waiver of excise duty on on-trade liquor licences on renewal this year.

A spokesman for An Garda Siochana said they are aware of the video circulating on social media.

He added: “An Garda Siochana does not comment on an extract of audio/video footage, the timeline and context of which cannot be determined.

“An Garda Siochana had resources on patrol in the Killarney district with local gardai reporting large numbers of persons socialising in Killarney over the evening.

“An Garda Siochana in Killarney were involved in the ongoing investigation of a fatal road traffic collision and responded to a number of further incidents including the serious investigation into the unexplained death of a male.

“Social distancing and other similar public health guidelines are not penal provisions under the Health Act 1947.

“Gardai continues to respond to reports of gatherings and engage with communities with a view to implementing the guidelines issued by the government and HSE in order to minimise the impact of Covid-19 on our community as a whole.

“In supporting the Covid-19 public health guidelines, gardai, when responding to incidents, has adopted a graduated policing response based on its tradition of policing by consent.”

PA