Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise Leo Varadkar has said that if the hospitality sector wants to remain open it needs to comply with Covid rules.

The minister said there are plans to "step up" inspections by the Health and Safety Authority to ensure premises are checking Covid passes.

He appealed to those in the sector to enforce the checks.

Mr Varadkar told RTÉ's News at One that the compliance capacity in the HSA is being increased, but that a range of agencies have carried out a total of 46,000 inspections since May 2020.

Of these, 707 were carried out by the HSA since 26 July.

He said, while most premises are complying, those not in compliance will face enforcement actions.

Earlier, representatives of the hospitality sector met Government officials to review the risks associated with last month's further easing of restrictions and how compliance measures are performing.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Ronan Glynn attended today's discussions.

Following the meeting, the Restaurants Association of Ireland said it had a "productive, full and frank meeting".

It said that the hospitality industry representatives at today's meeting had "collectively called for stronger sanctions including penalties, fines and closures for hospitality businesses flouting the regulations and breaching Covid guidelines".

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The CEO of the RAI described the establishment of a special phone-line to report businesses that are not checking Covid certs as a "good idea".

Adrian Cummins said they would support any initiative that increases the level of compliance within the industry and "if a hotline is set up into a Department or into any agency, to me that's a good idea".

He said the general public are currently reporting non-compliant businesses on social media and there Is a need to put a proper structure in place.

Mr Cummins suggested that either Fáilte Ireland, the Health and Safety Authority or the HSE could operate this service.

The Licenced Vintners Association described the meeting as a "positive and engaging discussion".

It called on all sectors of the hospitality sector to follow the guidelines and regulations, including Covid passes.

The lobby group "Give Us The Night" said it had "a good, open discussion that focused a lot on the messaging around Covid-19, rather than any talk of the industry having to shut".

Spokesperson Sunil Sharpe said: "We are obviously leading up to the busiest time of the year for socialising, so doing that as safely and efficiently as possible is the main priority for everyone. In particular, I was happy about the discussion around ventilation and the commitment to further communication on this topic."

"Public transport and effective use of taxis is another important area we need to get right and this was recognised today also.

"It does still feel like pre-event testing is not a priority for the Government, but I'm hopeful that there was food for thought for the Taoiseach's officials and Dr Ronan Glynn from points raised today."

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A spokesperson for the Department of Tourism said today's meeting with the hospitality sector provided an important context for the three-week review that was signalled at the outset and "we will continue to engage with the sector bilaterally as part of that review process".

The department said the review will "be critically informed by the wider public health situation".

Discussions will also take place this week with the live entertainment sector, the department said, after which and update will be provided for the Cabinet.

In a statement, the Government said that "constructive engagement took place on the range of issues".

It said issues surrounding improved "awareness of the risks and how to manage them" how to "support the public to follow public health advice and ensure greater compliance with regulations and guidance" were discussed with the hospitality representatives.

The Government said it would continue to work with the sector to maximise "the impact of mitigations - whether at an individual or a business level - on the transmission of Covid-19".

Meanwhile, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath said businesses in the hospitality industry who do not comply with rules around Covid-19 passes "do not deserve to remain open".

On his way into Cabinet, the minister said that although there has been a "pretty good level of compliance.. those who aren't are putting the public at risk".