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Independent TD Danny Healy Rae has claimed that Ireland is beginning to resemble a ‘dictatorship’ following the approval of new Garda powers in the Dail.

On Thursday, TDs voted to ratify legislation granting additional powers to Gardai as they crack down on pubs and restaurants flouting public health guidelines.

The legislation, which will enable Gardai to issue compliance notices and Immediate Closure Orders and to apply for Emergency Closure Orders, was approved by 102 votes to 10 in the Dail on Thursday.

Mr Healy Rae, who is a publican himself, was among the TDs to oppose the new legislation.

During Thursday’s debate, the Kerry TD stated: ‘Honestly only for that I can see you Ceann Comhairle and other TDs around the place I would have thought that I was in Russia or some other dictatorship with what’s going on here and with what’s being proposed in this Bill.’

The new legislation had been defended by Fine Gael TD Richard Bruton, who argued that additional Garda powers may enable the Government to allow so-called ‘wet pubs’ to reopen in accordance with public health guidelines.

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