If the legislation is ratified by TDs in the Dail next week, Gardai will be able to issue offending establishments with compliance notices, Immediate Closure Orders or Emergency Closure Orders.
Although it had been reported that the Government was considering making it a criminal offence to host house parties or social gathering exceeding the attendance limits imposed by public health authorities, this plan was scrapped at a late stage in the drafting of legislation.
Speaking to Newstalk’s The Hard Shoulder, Kildare North TD James Lawless, who is also a barrister, explained that the Government would have encountered significant constitutional issues in attempting to enforce such legislation.
Mr Lawless stated: ‘There’s a provision in the Constitution called the Inviolability of the Dwelling which basically means a Garda can’t kick down your door in the same way that perhaps they could kick the door of a business or a pub or a shed in the middle of nowhere.
‘They can’t come into the dwelling house legally so if they are going to do that they need extra checks and balances.
‘They rolled back from that last night, I think there was a civil liberty concern.’
Friday’s announcement also confirmed that so-called ‘wet pubs’ will not be allowed to reopen from August 31, as previously indicated, and lockdown restrictions imposed in Co Kildare will be extended once more, as the county continues to hold the highest national 14-day incidence of COVID-19 cases.
On Friday, the Government also unveiled a support package for publican impacted by the public health crisis, although this measure has been dismissed as a token gesture by many pub owners and by the Vintners’ Association of Ireland.