Significant work remains on indoor dining laws, Attorney General tells Ministers

Paul Gallagher ‘annoyed and frustrated’, seeking detail on exclusion of unvaccinated people

The Attorney General has told Ministers that significant work remains to be done on regulations to give effect to indoor dining, and a meeting between his office and officials has been arranged for Wednesday evening, it is understood.

One source said Paul Gallagher appeared to be “annoyed and frustrated”, and requested more detail on several aspects, such as data protection, enforcement, the exclusion of non-vaccinated people and several other aspects.

The guidelines for indoor dining, which are being drawn up by Fáilte Ireland, are understood to be effectively ready for publication, but are unlikely to be released before the regulations which give effect to the new indoor dining regime are signed off.

Hospital Report

Work on that is likely to take place at Wednesday night’s meeting, but it may be later in the week before all regulations and guidelines are published.


Political sources said the guidelines would be effectively the same as had been agreed with the hospitality industry earlier in the week.

What we know about the expected new rules of indoor dining

  • Groups will be limited to six people at tables one metre apart where there are no children present
  • Service will be limited to table only, with no service permitted at bars or counters
  • Time limits will not apply, but there will be a closing time of 11.30pm
  • Masks will be required
  • An app will be built which hospitality businesses can use to scan QR codes to check an individual's vaccine status, on either digital or paper certificates
  • It is expected indoor dining will return from Monday, July 26th

President’s signature

It is understood children will be permitted, though the exact details around specific social distancing rules for children are not yet confirmed.*

Guidelines on ventilation, including air flow, extraction systems and the use of CO2 monitors, are expected to be discussed at Wednesday’s meeting, as well as a potential requirement for photo ID.

Mr Gallagher’s concerns come after President Michael D Higgins signed off on legislation to clear the way for indoor dining to recommence.

In a statement on Wednesday morning, Áras an Uachtaráin said Mr Higgins had considered the Health (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill 2021 and that it had been signed and accordingly had become law.

Officials are working out how enforcement will operate, with environmental health officers carrying out checks.

*This article was amended on July 21st, 2021

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones

Jack Horgan-Jones is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times

Martin Wall

Martin Wall

Martin Wall is the former Washington Correspondent of The Irish Times. He was previously industry correspondent

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray

Jennifer Bray is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times