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26 May 2022

Taoiseach confirms most Covid-19 restrictions will be lifted this weekend

Taoiseach confirms most Covid-19 restrictions will be lifted this weekend

Taoiseach Micheál Martin addressed the nation this Friday evening

TAOISEACH Micheál Martin has confirmed that almost all Covid-19 restrictions will be lifted from 6am tomorrow.

The only rules which will remain in place will the requirement to wear face masks, self-isolating after testing positive for the virus and the requirement to have Covid passes for international travel.

This means that pre-pandemic opening hours will apply for pubs, clubs and restaurants in Limerick and across the country from tomorrow.

The capacity limits for indoor and outdoor events will be lifted meaning larger crowds will now be permitted to attend sporting fixtures this weekend including the final of the Co-Op Superstores Munster Hurling Cup on Sunday and Munster Rugby's Heineken Champions Cup match against Wasps at Thomond Park.

In a televised address, Mr Martin paid tribute to the public for doing what they were asked to do in “previously unimagined restrictions” on their lives.

“Today is a good day, earlier my government colleagues and I met to consider the latest report from the National Public Health Emergency Team,” he said.

“That report confirmed that we have weathered the Omicron storm, it confirmed that the rate of infection is reducing and that all of the key indicators on which we base our decisions have stabilised and are going in the right direction. It confirmed that Ireland’s world-class vaccination programme and the rollout of the boosters has utterly transformed our situation".

The Taoiseach said the government, based on the new evdicence, has concluded that the rationale and justification for continuing Ireland's public health restrictions are no longer in place.

“Therefore from 6am tomorrow morning, the majority of public health measures that we have had to live with will be removed.”

However, Mr Martin warned that the coronavirus pandemic is not over.

“It will still require all of us to be vigilant. The changes we’re making will likely lead to a temporary rise in infections in the short term but we are advised that the impact of this rise will be limited by the scale of vaccination in the population,” he said.

“It is important also to say that I can’t promise you there won’t be further twists in this pandemic requiring different decisions in the future but I do know this, solidarity with each other and trust in science has got us to where we are today and will get us through whatever else this virus make throw at us,” he added.

Micheal Martin went on to say that the recovery of society is underway and government will “continue to do what is necessary to support it”.

“The government decided today to continue and extend the provision of a number of key supports particularly the employment wage subsidy scheme,” he said.

He said he will continue to work with colleagues at a European and international level to ensure the rapid deployment of vaccines and therapeutics across Africa and the developing world.

“None of us will be fully safe until we are all safe,” he said.

“There is much to do but today is a good day and we should all take a moment to appreciate how far we’ve come, to appreciate the effect and sacrifice of those who put themselves in harm’s way to keep us safe, to remember and appreciate the lives and contribution of those we lost.

“We think of all those who died with Covid and indeed all those who passed away over the course of the last two years who were not able to mourn as we would have liked or as they deserved.”

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