Stagger Your Boozing


From top: The Stag’s Head, Dublin; Tara Kerry of Fáilte Ireland

This afternoon.

Tara Kerry, registrar and Accommodation Manager at Fáilte Ireland, spoke on RTÉ Radio One to Claire Byrne about the new pub guidelines.

Ms Kerry was as clear as a freshly poured stout.

Claire Byrne: “Where does Failte Ireland stand on this notion, if you go to a pub, you have to spend €9 on a meal?”

Tara Kerry: “Well there’s an interesting story behind that. The €9 meal, just to give you a bit of context on it. The value of a meal as set out by ministerial order, under Section 9 of the Intoxication Liquor Act 1962. But in 1979, this is where it gets interesting, in the act was amended to reflect the rate of two punts, two pounds in the day, which was seen as an appropriate charge for a substantial meal.

“Now, in 2003, the then Minister for Justice Michael McDowell updated the act under statutory instrument to reflect the equivalent value of the day in 2003 of €9. Now that €9 still stands under the act today. So €9 is what is in the act so €9 is what actually going to be required for a substantial meal.”

Byrne: “So what if you go into a smaller pub and they’re serving soup and sandwiches? And it’s €9?”

Kerry: “Well, if you look, a lot of bars, it would cost, in or around the €9 but again, we have to follow the law of the land on this. And €9 is the price. So they might end up having a cup of coffee with their meal aswell to make it the €9-plus.”

Byrne: “OK, and will you have to buy €9 or does it have to be offered to you?”

Kerry: “No you would have to buy it. That is our understanding of the act, you have to buy it.”

Byrne: “OK. And who will be responsible for policing that?

: “Again, that is one of the other areas that we are seeking clarity on...But can I say to you, though, one of the things is, and having a wide experience of the industry myself, I’ve grown up in the industry and worked in it for most of my life. I firmly believe that business owners who have the best interest of both their customers and employees at heart, will actually self-police this themselves.”

Byrne: “Because there was a suggestion this morning that you might have a group that would spend 90 minutes in one establishment, somebody buys a meal for €9 and then they pop along to the next one and somebody else buys a meal for €9, ensuring that they have a good, long chunk of drinking time.”

Kerry:Well I think that the public now, on the back of where we have been for the last 13 weeks, will actually, there’s obviously going to be exceptions to the rule but I do think that people will honour what is actually in place and the importance of allowing businesses to reopen.

“Because these food operations have been closed for a substantial period of time and now to have the opportunity to reopen is fantastic. It’s great for employment, it’s great from a Revenue perspective. And I think that both owners and customers will be compliant.”


Byrne: “Will that €9 meal requirement be removed for pubs after the 20th of July?”

Kerry: “It will.”

Byrne: “So all pubs will be allowed open after the 20th of July?”

Kerry: “Well it’s based on the current advice that we have as yet. Unless something changes on the government’s roadmap to reopening.”

Byrne: “And what about contact-tracing measures then. What actions will pubs have to take to ensure that they’re ready for contact-tracing, should they need to do it?”

Kerry: “Another area that we are actually seeking clarity on because obviously there are GDPR issues related to it. So we just want to find the best method for that. Because obviously public health has to be taken into account.

“And the pre-booking element, if that is to be taken up by businesses, will assist in that because if you were to get, and this is our suggestion, if you were to take just the lead booking of a group, rather than each indivduals, we also seek clarity on how long that information will have to be retained for.”

Byrne: “There’s a real concern amongst some business owners that they’re just going to miss out on so much passing trade because of that pre-booking requirement.”

Kerry: “Well the thing about this is, if you read through the document, basically it’s stating that you can still take walk-ins but you would have to retain the two-metre distancing. The pre-booking is one of the caveats for the one-metre distancing.”

Byrne: “OK, so if you are operating with one metre, you will have to take pre-booking.”

Kerry: “That’s exactly it yeah.”

: “OK. Even if it’s two minutes before they sit down?”

: “Again that would be down to each operating business and how they actually operate their booking systems.”


Listen back here


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46 thoughts on “Stagger Your Boozing

  1. Daisy Chainsaw

    Ah lads, enough of the hysteria, it’s only until 20 July. If pubs want to open during phase 3 on 29 June, then they have to be providing food and a packet of Tayto is not classified on its own as food.

    ( website – Phase 3: Cafés and restaurants providing on-premises food and beverages can reopen.)

    1. Clampers Outside

      +1, or 9, or whatever you’re having yourself, but I’m not paying for a steak dinner to have Cidona, OK! :)

  2. jockey

    I’m not understanding the meal idea. What does spending 9€ on a meal do for preventing the spread of Covid-19? I completely get the table booking thing even if I don’t like it. But I don’t understand the reason why we have to buy a meal?

    1. Col

      They have decided €9 represents the cost of a proper meal.
      Only pubs that also operate as restaurants are allowed to open from 29 June. It’s to stop pubs selling crisps or slices of bread or something and saying that qualifies them as restaurants to circumvent the rules.

    2. Clampers Outside

      I thought this was a good explainer :)

      “Interesting. So Covid in Ireland has evolved to point where it transmits to two metres but only in a non-bar setting, and you can’t get it in a pub IF you’re having a substantial meal but only if it’s more than €9. If less, Covid will know this and strike. Fascinating mutation.”

  3. GiggidyGoo

    Odd that she was asked as to who would police this. I wonder did Cian phone in to berate her?

  4. JamesJoist

    I still can’t get my head around the health and welfare reasoning . If a person pays a €9 entrance fee they are less likely , by one metre , than a person who dosn’t .

  5. Zaccone

    None of this makes any logical sense. Its all ridiculous optics.

    – How does buying a 9euro soup prevent one from catching corona?
    – Whats the point in a 90 minute rule, when people will just pub hop? Nobody is going to go out for 2-3 pints and then go home. If anything the 90 minute rule is just going to encourage people to spread the virus more, by going to more pubs in one night
    – And who exactly is going to enforce any of this? Will the Gardai be going around timing groups in pubs? Ensuring that they’ve eaten their 9euro meal?

    1. Paulus

      “Nobody is going to go out for 2-3 pints and then go home”

      I’ve spent much of my drinking adulthood doing just that, and in like-minded company.

    2. Cian

      Its simple.
      – Pubs are not allowed to open yet.
      – Restaurants are allowed to open.

      If you happen to have a full licence AND sell food you may open your pub if you operate it as a restaurant not as a pub.

      1. GiggidyGoo

        Well Cian. You were quick to poo poo (or is that boo boo) my earlier question regarding as to who would police this. Usual diversionary bull of course. But, seeing as you’re into the ‘It’s simple’ mindset, perhaps you’ll be good enough to answer the question now, seeing as it’s been asked on National Radio? It’s simple, isn’t it?

        1. Cian

          If I were on national radio I would give the same answer. We are all grown ups – this shouldn’t need to be ‘policed’.

          However, if it does need to be policed – then the pub owners should be taking responsibility to operate as restaurants.

          1. Cian

            I didn’t say that. I said this “shouldn’t need to be ‘policed’”.

            It is possible that the government will realise that there are too many eejits in the country and it will need to be policed so will write something into legislation. Off the top of my head they could:
            – make the pubs responsible; pubs could loose their licence if they are caught selling booze without food.
            – make the people responsible; punter could be fined if they are caught buying booze without food.

            And this would be policed by…. you guessed it – the police An Gardaí Síochána

    3. Harry Robertson

      Just get the traffic wardens to double job. They’re already supposed to make sure you’re not parked in same spot for more than 2 hours, even when parking is paid.

  6. Frank

    I’m offering my service to the state as ‘d’grub police’ to ensure enforcement of statutory ‘€9 immnogrub’ compliance.

    I have a good CV. I use to do this 20 years ago in a fashionable Dublin nightclub.
    we’d go down to mcDonalds and buy 50quids worth of food. bring it into the ‘kitchen’ of the nightclub and put it out on plates. when the guards came they were shown this pathetic sham and left. when a punter asked for food they were told to cop on.
    simple times.

    1. The Old Boy

      It sounds like a better idea then that awful alleged curry that used to be slopped up under the “Special Exemption Order” rules.

      1. Cian

        Ah – those were the days! I remember those paper plates being passed around until they arrived back to the bar and were binned (or kept for the following night!)

      2. missred

        Yes, my friend said she worked in a pub in Stillorgan when those licenses used to be in operation to open late by serving food – curry of the worst kind was served at tables. She still can’t stand the smell of curry 20 years later

  7. Tarfton Clax

    Ah yes… I remember the horrendous “curry” served in Blinkers in Leopardstown during the 1980s. We called it Zit fertilizer I vaguely recall.

  8. Harry Robertson

    Restaurants/pubs should be allowed open as planned. All on-sales licences should be suspended until the planned July opening date. None of this buffoonery

  9. italia'90

    Tara Kerry, registrar and Accommodation Manager at Fáilte Ireland

    Did she talk about the process she has instructed hotels to implement before a hotel room can be sold to a new customer each day?
    It’s mind boggling and quite frankly ridiculous!

    As an aside;
    are you going to play “Hide italia 90’s Posts” again today?
    It’s been over an hour since my last post was posted on Wednesday’s Papers, and still not published?
    This happened yesterday and Saturday/Sunday
    Remind me again how the mean people at Twitter treated your posts on their platform?

    BS SEZ: Sorry Italia’90, we tend to discourage name-calling and attacks on other commenters. See our rules of engagement here:

      1. italia'90

        haha you’re a funny feicaire when you want to be ; )

        And yes I was v. proud of my niece when she schooled me on the history comment from before :)
        My apologies for not replying to your comment back then.
        My comments are being extremely filtered it would appear.
        Honestly, this treatment feels similar to constructive dismissal from my point of view.

    1. italia'90

      Cheers Bodger,

      It’s ok for you know who, but not for me? I see.
      I am simply defending myself in the manner in which I have been attacked.
      Fight fire with fire and all that.
      I’m just requesting to be treated equally, perhaps you could keep that in mind thanks.
      You’re well able to delete words and complete sentences when you choose to.
      Perhaps you will consider publishing an edited version of my replies to you know who?
      When you selectively edit his comments to make him appear less aggressive and personal it reminds me of the similar treatment you got from twitter when they shadow banned you.
      Speaking of twitter your posts are being demoted again.
      No one likes internet bullies.

        1. SOQ

          Is that lagging thing still playing up Bodger? If it is then it will be fixed when its fixed but in the mean time perhaps people should appreciate that it is nothing personal- I have seen comments of my own not appear for 4 hours- is it do with the underlying platform?

        2. italia'90

          In my best Karen voice and new Karen hair-do…..
          “Can I speak to your manager please!!!”

  10. Junkface

    If the Pubs and Restaurants do not have windows open and portable fans blowing the air around to dissipate any covid 19 particles in the air, then we will have an outbreak very soon. It’s that simple. Sharing outdoor space is much safer for this reason.

  11. Cian

    My understanding is that while restaurants can open next week pubs need to wait until the 20th of July.

    If a pub happens to serve food it can fall into the ‘restaurant’ category BUT only if your main objective to go to the pub is to get food. (albeit with alcohol available – just like in a restaurant). The €9 meal and the 90minutes is a way of highlighting that this and putting a lower threshold to prevent a pub opening and saying they are serving “crips and peanuts” as food.

    1. Harry Robertson

      Just suspend drinks licences associated with restaurants and pubs.

      None of this going around the houses with €9 meals, 90 minutes bull. It’s running with the hare and chasing with the hound. Pubs just have to suck it up.

      1. SOQ

        Pubs just have to suck it up and some will close.

        There fixed that for you- there is a huge number of people employed in the pub trade so what are they supposed to do? There is no reason why they can’t just apply the same distancing and no hanging at the bar like elsewhere.

        1. Harry Robertson

          The death of the Irish pub has been prophesied on many occasions just like the the rapture. What are they paying for since they closed? Employees, I’m guessing, are on the covid payment, TV subscription surely cancelled, maybe a standing charge on electricity, heating, rent… these things can be negotiated with suppliers. not paying for stock. I can’t think of many more things if I’m honest. So why would they close?

          1. Harry Robertson

            Insurance: surely a change in circumstances changes the policy it does for all other insurance products. Or no customers, premiums should reduce. Rent is fair enough. Rates is paid annually or monthly?

  12. wearnicehats

    Presumably they have agreed with the Irish and UK sporting authorities to cut the length of games in order to satisfy this new, frankly ludicrous, rule

    1. Paulus

      Ah, but shouting at the telly won’t be allowed. Just imagine the implications of that. Whispers:
      “Go on ya good thing”.
      “Ah ref, FFS”

      1. Steph Pinker

        Won’t anyone think of those damn refs with their noisy whistles spitting their Covid-19 virus LITERALLY into the faces of lads playing soccer on a massive pitch with the fake crowd noises and blow-up dolls in the 2m social distancing stands!

        Tsk, tsk.

  13. Joxxxer

    Just pour two pints and print the customer a receipt for a burger, simple enough to navigate around the rules.

    All of these measures seem like they were written on the back of a napkin and I’m sure they’ll flip flop multiple times on them before the end of the month

    1. italia'90

      Paper never refused ink and ’tills never refused voids :)
      It will be another Irish farce I’m sure

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