Publicans are calling for the opening of outdoor hospitality to be brought forward to solve the issue of on-street drinking.

It comes as calls are being made for clarification on the issue of outdoor drinking with gatherings expected in many areas this weekend.

Public spaces such as Dublin's Grand Canal and South William Street are expected to attract crowds of mainly young people this weekend.

Many complain that they are being told to socialise outside but then told it is illegal.

Gardaí will patrol the areas asking people to move on if it is getting late or if large crowds start to accumulate.

There is no national law prohibiting drinking in a public space although there are Dublin City Council bye laws that are rarely used.

So far this year just nine summonses have been issued for people who "consume or attempt to consume intoxicating liquor on a road or in a public place within the functional area of the Council".

Two were further accused of failing to leave a place.

Martin Harte of Temple Bar Company is organising the division of public space between bars and restaurants for when out outdoor hospitality resumes on 7 June.

He says in the meantime a coherent plan needs to be worked out to control street drinking.

The Licensed Vinters Association believes the solution is to bring forward the reopening of outdoor pubs as the trend is expected to grow throughout May .

Chief executive of the LVA Donall O'Keefe said "this growth in outdoor socialising "has seen a rising number of complaints about crowds gathering, waste being left uncollected and also a lack of toilet facilities".

He said the reopening of outdoor hospitality will ensure socialising took place in managed settings and provide an additional 1,500 toilets.

Concerns about on-street drinking in Dublin city centre are not unique to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Current Europe Editor Tony Connelly produced this report from Temple Bar in 1995:

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