Gardaí making inquiries about gathering at Healy-Rae pub in Kerry

Officers seeking to establish if group congregated indoors before Covid-19 restrictions changed

Gardaí have started making preliminary inquiries into the circumstances behind a gathering in a pub owned by Independent TD for Kerry Danny Healy-Rae.

The Irish Times understands the inquiry, which is effectively a scoping exercise at present, was seeking to confirm when the gathering took place and to establish if public health guidelines, or the laws governing pubs during the pandemic, were breached.

Mr Healy-Rae, who owns the Jackie Healy-Rae Bar in Kilgarvan, was expected to be spoken to. He has made no substantive public comment on the matter and it was unclear if he had already been contacted by gardaí.

The inquiries relate to a wedding party that is alleged to have taken place in the pub in July before restrictions preventing indoor hospitality were lifted.


In one photo posted online, Mr Healy-Rae is seen behind the bar pulling a pint with a group of about 30 others gathered without face coverings looking to the camera.

Separately, other videos emerged on social media in recent days appearing to show revellers engaged in lively scenes in the bar. A number of people were dancing with their tops off and some carrying others on their shoulders, with no social distancing or facemasks. It appears to show people moving around without masks in the bar and others being served at the counter, activities which are not permitted under the Covid-19 restrictions currently in place.

In reply to queries, Garda headquarters confirmed inquiries were being made into the matter, though it added that no criminal investigation had begun and no complaints had been received.

"An Garda Síochána does not comment directly on social media content the context and veracity of which remains to be verified," the response said. "However, An Garda Síochána are aware of images and video published online appearing to be an indoor gathering in a licensed premises."

Conor Lally

Conor Lally

Conor Lally is Security and Crime Editor of The Irish Times