Dr. Jack Lambert, Clinical Professor at UCD School of Medicine and Consultant in Infectious Diseases and Genitourinary Medicine at the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, has called for NPHET (National Public Health Emergency Team) to reopen pubs on Monday, 31 August. 

Speaking to Kildare FM this morning, Dr Lambert advocated for the reopening of pubs stating that young people are suffering psychologically from lack of socialization. Additionally, Dr Lambert has told  the Irish Examiner he is witnessing people with “unnecessary illnesses” such as “substance abuse-related problems” entering the emergency room, he believes, as a result of people struggling to cope with isolation. 

Dr. Lambert has been vocal about the need for a proactive testing and tracing facility in Ireland and considers that it is this lack of this infrastructure that is holding the nation back. Speaking to The College Tribune, Dr. Lambert stated “COVID will continue to circulate in Ireland for years and years. We need to minimise [and] attack the clusters, and when we identify clusters provide additional resources to prevent them from happening again. And people are not taking face masks seriously, so we need strong educational campaigns to explain to people that it needs to be done 100%, otherwise you could infect someone with COVID.” 

He continued: “If you were doing an STI campaign, you would not tell youth to use a condom part of the time and you will only get a little pregnant, you would not tell them to put the condom on after you start having sex. This is the message we need to give with face coverings/masks. You need to do it a 100% protect yourself, protect others, don’t take COVID home to your vulnerable family members.”

NPHET are meeting today to discuss the reopening of pubs and review the situation in Kildare which has been under lockdown since August 8th. Pubs that do not serve food have been closed since mid-March and their opening has been repeatedly postponed due to rising Covid cases across the country. 

The opening of pubs could be affected by the controversy surrounding footage from a Dublin bar on August 15th showing a bartender pouring alcohol into the open mouths of customers. Despite not breaking any regulations, the video sparked outrage among members of the public and the government. 

Emma Hanrahan – Reporter