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28 May 2022

'Dejected and disappointed' - Associations in Ireland frustrated over lack of clarity in new guidelines

'Dejected and disappointed' - Associations in Ireland frustrated over lack of clarity in new guidelines

Taoiseach Michéal Martin has said that although he has empathy for the hospitality sector, the emphasis must remain on saving lives.

Government officials have said they will resume deliberations later today, following the announcement yesterday of the new guidelines which will apply to the reopening of nightclubs and live venues on Friday.

Speaking at a briefing on Ireland's CAP Strategic Plan 2023-2027, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said that "we have to get the virus under control" before the current restrictions can be further relaxed.

The Taoiseach has said he accepts the need for clarity within the entertainment industry and has called on the sector to work with Government in the coming days.

He added that although he has empathy for the hospitality sector, the emphasis must remain on saving lives.

The Music and Entertainment Association of Ireland (MEAI) has expressed its frustrations over the lack of clarity under the new guidleines.

In a tweet posted yesterday, Tuesday October 19th, the MEAI said that while it welcomed the return to full capacity for many venues, it was dejected and disappointed that the same rules do not apply across the board.

A separate round of discussions will consider what new enforcement measures will be deemed necessary while the immediate political focus is on trying to iron-out what the Government itself called "anomalies" in its reopening plans.

Officials from the Department of Tourism will be liaising with their counterparts in the Department of the Taoiseach, and it is expected that the departments of Health and Enterprise will also be in the loop, although representatives from publicans and restaurants said they have not been invited to any talks today.

However, some Government sources suggested they would be contacted about their concerns and this would feed into the deliberations.

The President of the Restaurants Association of Ireland said it is "the eleventh hour" and there are no full guidelines yet.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Mark McGowan - who owns Scholars Townhouse Hotel and Peggy Moores pub in Drogheda - said this is a "critical time of year" as they head into the Christmas period.

He said things like multiple table numbers are still up in the air, and hopes guidelines will be given out sooner rather than later.

"There's a lot of decisions that have to be made," he said. "We have to plan rosters, we have to plan the logistics of our table plans in the restaurant, and we may have to hire more staff as well.

"The fact that the Covid certs are here to stay - which I actually welcome - I think it is an additional labour cost, but what it does is mitigate risk and I think that's ultimately what this is all about."

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