Donnelly says behaviour like that seen at Dublin bar ‘poses a threat to life’

Owner of Berlin D2 says footage ‘looks terrible but it ain’t that terrible’

Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has described the scenes at a Dublin city venue at the centre of a controversy over alleged breaches of coronavirus guidelines at the weekend as "reckless" and "a slap in the face" to people who had made huge sacrifices during the pandemic.

Mr Donnelly said it was a matter for gardaí to decide if the incident would lead to a filing being forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The Minister, who confirmed he had spoken to his Cabinet colleague Minister for Justice Helen McEntee about the matter, said “behaviour like that poses a threat to life. We’re not messing around here”.

“Young people needed to realise that we’re in the middle of a pandemic here. There’s a lot at stake here.”


Mr Donnelly said venues that breached coronavirus guidelines needed to be shut down and said gardaí had identified 26 venues which were found not to be compliant during weekend inspections.

"The vast majority are doing what is right," he told RTÉ's Morning Ireland.

However, he acknowledged there was pandemic fatigue emerging among the public and said the next few weeks were going to be very important.


Earlier, the proprietor of Berlin D2, Jay Bourke, said he was "appalled, very unhappy and embarrassed" at video footage that emerged on social media over the weekend which claims to show a brunch event that took place at the venue on Saturday.

Customers are shown crowding around a bar as a man dancing on it, while wearing a mask, pours drink into their mouths.

Mr Bourke, a well-known restaurateur and publican, said he had been in West Cork when the incident happened on Saturday afternoon, but had returned to spend Sunday meeting gardaí, his staff at the venue, watching CCTV footage and discussing the event with his security staff.

Having viewed hours of footage, he said the 20 second clip on social media did not give the complete picture.

It had been unfortunate that the bar man had jumped on the bar, but otherwise the event was “pretty well controlled.”

Mr Bourke said he was not excusing what had happened, “it was just a mad moment.” He was now trying “to pick up the pieces.”

The bar man should not have done what he did, he said. “He was not doing what he should. He was naughty. He’s young and he got excited. It was a moment of exuberance.

‘It looks terrible but it ain’t that terrible’

“This was an aberration rather than a normal occurrence. Young people need to have fun, our job is to provide it . . .It looks terrible but it ain’t that terrible.”

Berlin D2 began trading again six weeks ago after Covid-19 restrictions were eased, Mr Bourke said. He said staff were trained and adhering to social distancing and other Covid-19 regulations, there had been no overcrowding and “the place has been sterilised to within an inch of its life”.

He said the premises had been visited “more than 25 times by the police, we’ve been visited by the HSE last Wednesday and they have been happy with us at all times”.

Responding to a comment from acting chief medical officer Ronan Glynn’s description of the footage as “reckless”, Mr Bourke said: “He is judging us on the basis of a 20-second clip.

“I don’t think we’ve broken a law, that was 20 seconds of madness and that’s all.”

Restaurant and pub bodies condemned the bar for appearing to flout the Covid-19 rules, with the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) saying Berlin D2 should be "immediately" shut.

Mr Bourke said on Sunday the reaction to the incident on social media, which included death threats against staff, was “extreme” and very troubling and had resulted in his decision not to reopen for the moment.

An Garda Síochána said it would not be providing details on individual suspected breaches of the public health regulations.

“Where potential breaches of the Public Health Regulations are identified and where a person does not come into compliance with the regulations, a file is submitted to the Director of Public Prosecutions for a direction as to how to proceed,” a spokesman said.