'We Have Weathered The Omicron...


'We Have Weathered The Omicron Storm' - Taoiseach Confirms End Of Most Restrictions

Michael Staines
Michael Staines

06:14 21 Jan 2022

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The Taoiseach has confirmed that most COVID restrictions will end tomorrow morning.

In his address to the nation on the steps of Leinster House this evening, Micheál Martin said today is a good day" and urged everyone to take a moment to appreciate what the country has achieved.

“Spring is coming and I don’t know if I have ever looked forward to one as much as I am looking forward to this one,” he said.

“Humans are social beings and we Irish are more social than most. As we look forward to this Spring, we need to see each other again, we need to see each other smile, we need to sing again.”

Indoor dining Empty pints at the Stags Head as pubs close at the 3pm deadline in Dublin City Centre, 24-01-2020. Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews

Mr Martin remembered all those we have lost through the pandemic and said everyone in Ireland should be thankful for the effort and sacrifice of the frontline workers who got the country to this point.

“Today is a good day and we should all take a moment to appreciate how far we have come,” he said.

“To appreciate the effort and sacrifice of those who put themselves in harm’s way to keep us safe. To remember and appreciate the lives and contribution of all 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 we were not able to mourn as we would have liked or as they deserved.”

Cabinet this afternoon agreed to lift almost all restrictions from 6am tomorrow

It means pubs and restaurants will return to normal service, while night clubs will reopen.

Meanwhile, Digital COVID Certs will no longer be needed for anything but international travel.

Capacity restrictions for events and weddings are also set to be scrapped alongside the limits on household visits.

The return to the office can also begin on a phased basis from Monday.

The only rules being kept in place are the use of facemasks in certain settings and the requirement to self-isolate when symptomatic.

Mr Martin warned that the reopening will lead to a rise in cases and there are no guarantees while the pandemic continues.

“I want to be clear; the pandemic isn’t over,” he said. “It will still require all of us to be vigilant.”

“The changes we are 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.

“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 may throw at us.”

Mr Martin insisted Ireland would be ready for any future surges of the virus – saying that preparations are underway to expand hospital and ICU capacity and embed the lessons learned over the past 22 months into primary and secondary care.

He said the restrictions that remain in place will be reviewed before the end of February.

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