Cabinet meeting

  • Inter-county travel is set to return on Monday week next  the 10th of May as part of a sweeping easing of COVID restrictions.

    The Cabinet is due to meet this afternoon to sign off on plans to re-open most of the country for the summer.

    The first easing of measures will be next Tuesday when the entire construction sector can return to work.

    But May 10th will be the key day when a raft of COVID restrictions will be lifted including the inter-county travel ban.

    From the 10th, three households will be allowed to meet up in a back garden - or a maximum of 6 people from more than three households.

    Fully vaccinated people will also be allowed to meet one household of non-vaccinated people indoors - which in effect means people will be able to travel anywhere in the country and meet parents or grandparents from the 10th.

    That day religious services return with attendances capped at 50 - or more in bigger churches where space allows.

    Attendance at funerals and weddings will also rise to 50 - but the afters of a wedding will remain restricted to 6 people until June.

    Personal services like barbers, hairdressers and beauticians will return on the 10th by appointment only.

    Public transport will also increase to 50% capacity while outdoor sports training for adults can resume.

    Driving tests and house viewings will also be permitted in May.

    The 10th will see the return of click and collect retail with the sector to open fully a week later on the 17th.

    The next easing of restrictions will come on June 2nd when hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs will be allowed to re-open.

    However, pubs and restaurants will have to wait until after the Bank Holiday weekend to resume outdoor dining only from the 7th of June.

    No distinction will be made between gastropubs and so-called wet pubs - with the much maligned nine euro meal being scrapped.

    The 7th of June will also see the return of gyms for individual training only and outdoor sports matches will resume without spectators.



  • The Cabinet has approved a draft bill to hold a referendum on the 8th amendment.

    The Health Minister Simon Harris can now finalise the bill, which the Government is expected to approve in two weeks time.

    The Taoiseach has said he's confident the timeline of holding a referendum on the 8th amendment at the end of May can still be met.

  • The Cabinet is expected to agree to a reopening date for pubs when it meets later today.

    According to the Irish Times, the Government is likely to announce next Monday week September 21st as the date they can reopen.

    It comes after strict new guidelines for pubs that don't serve food to open safely were published.

    Irish pubs have experienced the longest lockdown in Europe with publicans lobbying fiercely to get back to business.

  • A Cabinet meeting gets underway at 4pm to sign-off on tighter restrictions to slow the spread of Covid-19.

    An official announcement is expected later this evening or tonight.

    It's expected that schools will stay open, but most non-essential retail will close under the new restrictions.

    This will mean hairdressers, barbers, beauticians, gyms, swimming pools and non-essential retail outlets closing, possibly for up to 4 weeks.

    Some Ministers have suggested there needs to be a lead-in period of a number of days for the new restrictions, to allow businesses to make plans.

    This might mean the new restrictions not coming into force until the middle of the week.

    Travel limits are also being discussed, with people potentially being limited to going no further than 5 or 10 kilometres from their homes, while pubs and restaurants will be limited to a takeaway service only .

    Limiting the hours off-licences can open is also under consideration.

    However, schools and construction sites will remain open, while the GAA championship and elite sport are set to continue.

  • The Health Minister says further restrictions aimed at slowing the spread of Covid-19 will be announced this afternoon.

    The National Public Health Emergency Team met this morning and has made a series of recommendations.

    Cabinet Ministers are currently meeting to discuss the advice, which is likely to impact on travel and social activity.

    Speaking on the way into Government Buildings, Minister Simon Harris says there will also be an update on existing measures, including schools.

  • The Cabinet is meeting this lunchtime, to make final decisions on what restrictions can be eased over the next month.

    It looks now as though no restrictions will be eased on April 5th as the Government adopts a more cautious approach, after a stark warning from NPHET last night about the risks of a fourth wave.

    Ministers have said they want nothing to endanger the full re-opening of schools on the 12th - and so any easing of other restrictions will be done on a phased basis through the month of April.

    That will include allowing people to travel within their county, the phased return of construction starting with home building, and the return of underage sport training.

    Golf and tennis are set to be allowed, along with meet-ups with one other household in an outdoor setting.

    Taoiseach Míchéal Martin will address the nation later, to announce their decisions.



  • A Cabinet meeting has been underway since about 4.30 to decide whether or not to move to the next phase of the roadmap for reopening the country from next Monday.

    Tanaiste Leo Varadkar has given a strong indication that the reopening of pubs will once again be postponed.

    Speaking before the Cabinet meeting got underway, Mr Varadkar highlighted the recent spike in new Covid-19 cases in Ireland and across Europe and said the Government’s priority is reopening schools and colleges.

    The Tanaiste said the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) recommended a cautious approach in the coming weeks.

    Mr Varadker said this will be come as a “further blow to some sectors that have not been reopened but added that “we can’t risk going backwards or risk the schools reopening”.

    However, there is growing anger among publicans who have been forced to keep their pubs closed for almost five months while other sectors of society have reopened.

    Mayo publican Marie Mellett, of Mellett's Emporium in Swinford, says pubs should open from next week, regardless of whether they serve food or not:

  • Government ministers will sign-off later today on closing schools and construction sites until the end of the month.

    It comes amid a surge in Covid-19 cases and hospital admissions.

    5,325 confirmed cases of Covid-19 were reported yesterday evening, along with 17 further deaths.

    This included 140 new cases in Co Galway, 99 new cases in Mayo, 50 in Sligo, 29 in Roscommon and 13 in Sligo.


    The Cabinet will convene this morning to finalise new restrictions on the construction sector and extend school closures.

    Both won't be allowed to resume until at least January 31st, however some building projects like social housing, will be exempt.

    Schools for children with special needs are also likely to be allowed remain open, while creches will be able to provide childcare for essential workers.

    A requirement for people travelling into Ireland to provide a negative Covid-19 test is also expected to get the green light from Ministers.

    They will also approve extra restrictions on retail that would see click and collect in shops replaced by delivery only.

    The move could potentially impact take-away food services where customers have to physically enter the premises.

    In a statement last night, McDonalds says its dine-in and walk-in takeaway services will be stopped temporarily while it reviews its safety procedures.


  • The cabinet will get an update on the Coronavirus later today, when it meets to discuss Ireland's preparation for an outbreak of COVID-19.

    Government Ministers will also discuss the impact of severe flooding in parts of the country over the past few weeks as the clean-up operation continues in parts of the Midlands and the West of the country.

    Elsewhere the slow process of government formation continues.

    Fine Gael and the Green Party will meet for a second day in a row to discuss policy points.

    Sinn Féin also have a meeting with the Social Democrats to discuss their priorities for entering government.

    Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are due to meet this week as well - likely ahead of the Dáil sitting for the second time on Thursday.


  • Cabinet Ministers will discuss the latest setbacks for the vaccination programme when they meet this morning.

    The Taoiseach is to be briefed by the HSE and the vaccines taskforce as work continues on redrawing the roll-out plan, following  a pause in the delivery of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and the decision not to give the AstraZeneca to people under 60.

    It comes as the HSE confirmed the majority of AstraZeneka clinics have been cancelled for the rest of this week.


    A group has protested outside the gates of IT Sligo yesterday ahead of a Cabinet meeting to voice their concern over any proposed closure of Easkey Post Office.

    The postmaster there is due to retire and the future of Easkey Post Office is now under review by An Post and could close by the end of March.

    The local community have strongly opposed any moves to close the post office and recently held a public meeting on the matter.

    A group protested outside the gates of IT Sligo yesterday where the Cabinet met ahead of the announcement of the National Planning Framework.

  • The Government looks set to reject NPHET's recommendation that the country be moved  level five restrictions.

    Instead, it's understood every county will be placed on level three from midnight.

    There will also be proper monitoring and enforcement of those restrictions.

    The Cabinet is set to approve the measures at a meeting at 5.30pm.



  • The Government will decide this evening whether or not to move to phase four of the easing of Coronavirus restrictions.


    Moving to phase four would see the re-opening of all pubs, nightclubs and casinos and an increase in public gatherings, with 100 people able to meet indoors and 500 outdoors.

    It's due to happen from Monday, but first will require cabinet approval this evening.

    Last night the National Public Health Emergency team expressed concern about moving to what would be the final phase of the re-opening of the economy.

    Much of the concern relates to the number of young people getting the virus and an increase in the reproductive rate.

    Many pubs that were due to reopen are still awaiting advice on whether or not they can.

    Cabinet is also due to discuss air travel today.

    There've been calls for stricter rules around who is allowed into the country after anecdotal reports of tourists not respecting the self-isolation guidelines.

    Ministers have said they don't plan to ban any flights from coming into the country, but will be stepping up how they track people who do arrive to make sure they are self isolating.

    While Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney has pointed out people who lie on the passenger locator forms can be subject to criminal sanction already, if they're caught.



    A special Cabinet meeting will take place in Sligo this Friday.

    The Cabinet meeting will get underway at 11am at IT Sligo, and will be followed by the launch by Taoiseach Leo Varadker of Project Ireland 2040 – the National Planning Framework and National Development Plan.

    The President of IT Sligo Dr Brendan McCormack says the institute is honoured to host the historic Cabinet meeting – the first ever held on an IT campus.

    He says the event is a vote of confidence in Sligo, the Northwest region, its young people and its future.

    Dr McCormack says he believes the plans being announced on Friday will have a transformative impact on the economic well-being of the north-west region, and will provide a much-needed boost for the region.

  • The Cabinet is meeting today to sign off on plans for a significant easing of Covid-19 restrictions from May the 10th.

    Intercounty travel, click and collect, religious services and hairdressers will be the first to resume from next Monday week 10th May.

    This will be followed by the reopening of non-essential retail on the 17th of May while hospitality will return outdoors in June.

    Hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs will return on June 2nd, and restaurants and pubs can reopen for outdoor services five days later.

    The Taoiseach will make an announcement about the easing of restrictions this evening.

    Going into the Cabinet meeting, the Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said hope is starting to break through....


  • Members of the People Before Profit Party in Sligo protested outside the gates of IT Sligo on Friday ahead of the special Cabinet meeting to rubberstamp the Ireland 2040 plan.

    The group were there to protest for a number of reasons. Local Cllr Gino O’Boyle was there to highlight the lack of social and affordable housing in Sligo. There are 1,100 people on the waiting list, with only 65-85 houses available.

    While Nigel Gallagher from the party was there as part of the Still Waiting campaign, which is calling for a one-tier health system.

  • An unscheduled Cabinet meeting will get under way this afternoon to discuss tougher measures to tackle spiralling Covid 19 case numbers.

    1,546 new infections were recorded yesterday the highest since the outbreak began.

    69 cases of the virus were confirmed yesterday in county Mayo, 43 new cases in county Galway, 15 in Sligo, 11 in Roscommon and less than 5 in county Leitrim.

    Nationally there were 411 people in hospital, 75% more that just over a week ago.

    Nphet who have called for stricter measures will also meet this morning while the HSE is due to call a press conference later today.

    Under the current Level 5 restrictions, non essential retail and gyms are still open while visitors from just one other household are permitted

    Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has said there is little doubt that tougher restrictions will be considered.

  • The National Public Health Emergency Team has been meeting to discuss the potential easing of some COVID restrictions.

    The 5 kilometre limit, small outdoor gatherings, outdoor sport and construction are being considered.

    The HSE says this round of easing of restrictions is about striking a balance about the spread of the virus and people's mental health.

    NPHET will pass on its recommendations to Government this evening, and Cabinet Ministers will make the final call on what's happening tomorrow.


  • Restaurants and gastro-pubs will be told to close on Christmas Eve under plans going before the Cabinet this morning.

    Last night the Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan made a presentation to the coalition party leaders, setting out a stark picture of rising case numbers as well as fears over the new strain of the virus emerging from the UK.

    He told them Level Five restrictions will be needed at some point after Christmas.

    Following the meeting, a number of recommendations are going to cabinet today.

    From mid-afternoon on Christmas Eve restaurants, gastropubs, hairdressers, barbers, beauticians, cinemas and galleries will have to close.

    Non-essential retail will be allowed to remain open.

    Sources said there will be supports for those businesses that will have to close, but it's unclear whether these will be new schemes.

    The ban on intercounty travel will return from December 27th - however, there will be exemptions for returning to work.

    The travel ban on flights from the UK will be extended until at least December 31st, and kept under review.

    The details on when restrictions on household visits will tighten will be debated at cabinet this morning.




  • The review of the bidding process for the National Broadband Plan was not discussed at this morning's Cabinet meeting.

    The report by Peter Smyth was received last evening by the Communications Minister Richard Bruton, with a view to it being presented to Ministers this morning.

    However, that's now expected to happen at next week's Cabinet meeting instead. 

    The report examines whether contacts between the former Communications Minister Denis Naughten and David McCourt, the businessman leading the only consortium left bidding for the contract, have undermined the plan.

    The reivew was requested by the Taoiseach last month after Roscommon's Denis Naughten resigned when it emerged that he had met Mr McCourt a number of times while the procurement process was continuing.

    Mr McCourt is the founder and chairman of Granahan McCourt, the only remaining bidder for the contract that would see the rollout of broadband across rural Ireland.