Irish publican arrested after creating ‘Covid-free pub’ with mandatory on-site testing

An Irish publican who defied coronavirus restrictions to open his bar in a rural village was arrested by police scarcely an hour after welcoming patrons to his “covid-free pub,” which featured mandatory testing for the virus.

Donal Byrne, the owner of Eileen’s Bar in Aghamore in county Mayo, introduced mandatory rapid testing for Covid-19 in a bid to prove to authorities that his pub was safe for punters. 

However, the move did little to satisfy the local police force and Byrne was arrested for failing to comply with Covid-19 regulations shortly after opening his doors on Thursday evening.

Sources told the Western People newspaper that there were a number of people on the premises at the time of the arrest, but the venue was not overcrowded and social distancing measures were being adhered-to. 

Ireland’s publicans have been badly hit by the country’s efforts to tackle the virus, with pubs that don’t serve food having to close their doors for most of the year. Bar owners in rural parts of Ireland with low levels of the virus have been particularly aggrieved by the draconian measures.