How Irish Drinkers Are Reportedly Getting Around COVID Restrictions

We're all adjusting to a new normal amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, and one of the countries struggling with the virus-related restrictions is Ireland. According to Alcohol Action Ireland, 76 percent of the Irish population drinks, with 53 percent doing so at least weekly. So, with the current lockdown (also known as Level 5 of the "Plan for Living with COVID-19") recommending that people stay at home as much as possible and requiring bars, cafes, and restaurants to only open for take-out or delivery (except in Dublin, where they are still closed completely), where are those Irish drinkers going to go for a freshly-poured pint (via Food and Wine)? If you get your news from Facebook, the answer is: the airport.

A recent Facebook post from the page The Angry Bartender Ireland shows four beers at a table along with a boarding pass, and the superimposed caption reads: "When the pubs are closed and the only place serving is the airport, so u book a €9.99 flight (that u have no intention of getting on) to go for beers with the lads, down there for dancing" (via Facebook). Because Dublin airport (classified as an essential service) is still open and serving food and drinks, the story quickly gained traction online. Unfortunately, the whole thing appears to be a hoax.

Why people aren't actually buying plane tickets to get a pint in Ireland

After months of lockdown and pubs being closed, it might not sound out of the realm of possibilities that people might buy cheap plane tickets in order to visit the airport pub with their friends. However, in a statement to Irish Mirror, a spokesperson for the airport poked holes in this story. First, he mentioned that anyone attempting to purchase alcohol at the airport bar would first have to purchase a meal of at least €9. Add that to the €9.99 flight for each drinker, and the four friends in the Facebook post would have had to spend at least €75.96 (that's about $90) before buying a single pint. This doesn't even include the cost of transportation to and from the airport.

Not only that but if they were caught drinking at the airport bar without any intention of traveling, they could be punished since that would be "a breach of airport bye-laws which state that 'a person may not engage in any activity which jeopardizes or interferes with the ... orderly operation of an airport.'" The scheme could even lead to a possible court appearance. Finally, the airport also claimed that they have no evidence that people are engaging in this type of behavior, and even the Facebook page that made the original post later claimed: "it was just an absolute cracking spoof" (i.e. a prank). It seems, for now at least, that Irish drinkers remain confined to their homes.