Republic of Ireland news

October set to see most easing of restrictions in Republic, says Eamon Ryan

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said a return to offices will require a lot of flexibility from organisations
James Ward, PA and Dominic McGrath, PA

Most restrictions will be eased in October, including those on the hospitality sector, Eamon Ryan said today.

The Green Party leader and transport minister said one of the key decisions will be around the entertainment industry, including clarity about when it will return.

He also said that a return to offices will require a lot of flexibility from organisations.

Asked whether the restrictions on hospitality, including the 11.30pm closing time, will be lifted, Mr Ryan said it still needed to be worked out.

“Everything won’t change, by the time we get into October most of the restrictions should start to ease,” he said.

“I know the hospitality sector made a point, we don’t want everyone out at the one time, so having staggered opening and closing times makes sense.”

Mr Ryan also suggested that there could be a staggered approach to going back to the office: “It’s lots of flexible approaches in September, with most restrictions being lifted in October.”

He said some changes will come into effect from September 13.

“We will start with getting people used to going back to work and training and team work. A lot of people will still be able to do remote working if they find that works better for them.”

Earlier, Foreign Affairs minister Simon Coveney said that the government will provide the live entertainment sector with “specific dates” for reopening tomorrow.

The sector has been largely shut throughout the pandemic, with bosses calling on government to allow it to return as soon as possible.

A meeting between stakeholders and Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Tanaiste Leo Varadkar and Culture Minister Catherine Martin ended earlier today.

“The government wants to open up, and to do that as safely as we can,” Mr Coveney told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

“One thing we will definitely do tomorrow is give people specific dates so they can plan their businesses and lives around dates in the future.

“That’s what the industry is asking for.

The meeting of the Covid Cabinet sub-committee will resume this afternoon.

The group met for five and a half hours on Friday. There will be an announcement tomorrow of a road map for lifting restrictions.

Mr Ryan confirmed on Friday that communions and confirmations are also set to be given the go-ahead this month.

In a statement on Friday, the government also said it would engage with the organisers of Electric Picnic over the weekend, with Ms Martin saying she was exploring “all possible options” for the music festival to go ahead.

The chief medical officer has said he would not have concerns about the event going ahead from a public health perspective, if it is limited to only the fully vaccinated.

The latest figures show that 88.1% of Irish adults are now fully vaccinated, among the highest rates in Europe.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin tweeted today: “88.1% of over-18s are now fully vaccinated in Ireland.

“Very strong performance by the Vaccine Task Force, HSE and all involved in our rollout.

“Vaccination is giving us the protection we need against severe illness – so please get one as soon as you are offered.”

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