Fines of up to €2,000 or month in jail for people who use fake indoor dining certs

People caught with forged indoor dining passes could face a €2,000 fine and/or a month in prison under new legislation to be agreed by Cabinet.

inisters are set to sign off on new laws which will allow people who have been vaccinated or recently recovered from Covid-19 to eat and drink inside pubs, restaurants and cafes.

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The HSE and Health and Safety Authority will be responsible for monitoring the hospitality industry once the new identification system is in place.

However, gardaí will be called to intervene in cases of serious breaches of the new law.

The legislation will also allow gardaí to apply to the District Court for emergency closure orders for businesses found in breach of the laws.

The indoor dining passes will initially be in place for three months until October 9 but they can be extended beyond that date.

In a letter to the Oireachtas Health Committee, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said the news laws will operate “no longer than is necessary” as they are limited to those with immunity.

Mr Donnelly said it will be three months in its “initial duration” but with a provision that “enables extension by the resolution of the Oireachtas should the behaviour of the virus require it at that time”.

The minister wrote to the Committee seeking to bypass pre-legislative scrutiny of the legislation which will enable owners of “relevant indoor premises” to allow customers into their businesses if they have a “high degree of immunity from Covid-19”.

At a meeting of the committee today, members insisted Department of Health officials should brief them on the new laws

In reply to the Minister, the Oireachtas Health Committee said that it was not prepared to waive pre-legislative scrutiny unless it gets a detailed briefing on the legislation first.

Social Democrats co-leader and member of the Oireachtas Health Committee Roisin Shorthall said that she understands a briefing will be arranged with members of the committee as well as party leaders.

“We know from past experience that rushed legislation often turns out to be bad legislation,” Ms Shorthall said.

She said that the legislation is “very far reaching”.

“It’s very hard to see how it will be workable.

“There’s serious legal and ethical issues at play because it does discriminate against people based on the status of their vaccination and therefore, discriminates on the basis of age.

“It’s not a good idea to rush the legislation and a lot depends on the briefing that we get.”

Sinn Féin health spokesperson David Cullinane said that the Committee was seeking out details of the indoor dining legislation for the past week and a half and was “led up a garden path” after contacting Government departments for more information.

“We were told by different departments that it wasn’t under their remit. We were told the Department of Health wasn’t taking the lead. Now we’re asked to waive the pre-legislative scrutiny. It’s not good enough,” he said.

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