Spiked – Larissa Nolan –

Ireland is the only place in Europe where you can’t drink in an Irish pub.

Spare a thought for your neighbours in Ireland – the lockdown capital of the free world. While you Brits prepare for Freedom Day, we still are not permitted to eat or drink under a solid roof. As 90,000 fans are set to fill Wembley for the Euros final, no one here has been to a normal gig or event in 16 months. Live music – and even just loud music – is banned.

There is no sign of when any of this will change. Many Irish people have convinced themselves that this is fine, or they piously frame it as ‘cautious’. The rest of us are tearing our hair out, hoarse from screaming: ‘But look over there!’

We have become like the lotus-eaters of the Tennyson poem, marooned on an island, in an altered state and isolated from the rest of the world.

Ireland is now a land of draconian rules that are only getting tighter. We make a performance art of what the Americans call ‘security theatre’ – measures that provide a feeling of safety, while doing little to achieve it.

We are the only country in the EU not to have opened indoor hospitality – still sitting outside like morons, while responsible businesses who want to open fully go to the wall. You can have a drink in an Irish pub anywhere else in Europe, except Ireland. Our National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) tells us it is right and the rest of the world is wrong.

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Spare a thought for locked down Ireland