Tanaiste Leo Varadker

  • The Tánaiste insists Covid-19 is 'in retreat' across Ireland and the country is on the right track.

    575 new cases were confirmed here yesterday, along with 45 additional deaths.

    218 of the cases are in Dublin, while the second highest number- 38 new cases - are in Galway.

    Elsewhere across the West, there are 15 new cases in Mayo, 10 in Roscommon, 7 in Sligo and less than 5 in Leitrim.

    The 14 day incidence rate of the disease is now 240 per 100,000 of the population. 

    13 counties - including Galway and Mayo - have rates above the national average.

    Galway's 14-day rate is now 330 and Mayo's is 255 per 100,000 people.

    The  number of Covid patients in public hospitals has fallen to 642 - the lowest in over seven weeks - while 151 of these patients are in ICU.

    Tanaiste Leo Varadkar says the country is winning the battle against the disease...

  • 60 new jobs have been announced for the Co Galway town of Ballinasloe over the next 5 years.

    Chanelle Pharma is to create the new jobs as the company extends its distribution and manufacturing operations in Ireland.

    Chanelle Pharma  - which manufactures generic medicines for human and animal health - already employs 570 people at its headquarters in Loughrea and also has offices and warehouses in Oranmore.

    Initially the company will relocate its Chanelle Pet distribution business from Loughrea to the IDA Business Park in Ballinasloe.

    The €5 million investment by Chanelle Pharma will see the company invest in warehousing and new manufacturing operations in Ballinasloe, and will convert the existing Chanelle Pet premises in Loughrea to a new manufacturing facility.

    That's according to Senator Eugene Murphy, who says it's a great vote of confidence in Ballinasloe.

    The company, privately owned by founder Michael Burke, currently exports to 96 countries, and supplies some of the top human generic and animal health multinational companies globally.

    Tanaiste and Minister for Business Leo Varadker also says it's great news for the Co Galway town....

  • Every person who wants a Covid-19 vaccine could be offered one by the end of June, according to the Tanaiste.

    Leo Varadkar told the FG parliamentary party last night it's possible, based on international evidence that 10 to 15 percent refuse the jab.

    However he said the official target is still to offer 82 percent a first dose by the end of next month.

  • The Taoiseach is urging people to remain vigilant, as the cases of the Delta variant of Covid-19 are rising.

    The strain, first detected in India, accounted for 20% of new covid cases here last week, which the Chief Medical Officer Dr Tony Holohan says is "concerning".

    Up to 14 cases in Athlone could be linked to the Delta variant, according to the HSE.

    There are concerns that people mixing outdoors on the west side of Athlone on Friday 11th June may be infected, and anyone who attended that event is urged to go for a Covid-19 test.

    Taoiseach Mícheal Martin says the Government will take further advice next week from the National Public Health Emergency Team in relation to the Delta variant, and whether it will impact on plans for further lifting of restrictions - including the reopening of indoor service in pubs and restaurants from 5th July.

    Meanwhile the Tanaiste says the Delta strain of Covid 19 will become the dominant variant here but there's no need to panic.

    Speaking on his way into Cabinet, Leo Varadkar says the Government is concerned but July's reopening remains on track for now....

  • It looks like it will be the end of April or early May before non-essential shops or hairdressers have a chance of reopening.

    The Tanaiste says the easing of restrictions next month will be quite limited.

    The relaxing of the 5km rule, some outdoor activities and construction are set to be the only areas to change.

    Leo Varadkar says restrictions will ease on a slow and phased basis...

  • The Tanaiste says NPHET's advice next week will be crucial when it comes to reopening indoor hospitality.

    The restrictions are set to ease on July 5th, but that's now in doubt due to a rise in cases of the more transmissible Delta variant.

    Leo Varadkar told his parliamentary party last night that the strain's a "big concern" and said "the final call" will follow recommendations next week from the National Public Health Emergency Team.


  • The Tánaiste says he can't promise that this lockdown will be the last, due to the continued emergence of variants.

    Leo Varadkar says most people think the cautious approach the Government is taking in the latest Living with Covid plan is the right one.

    Level 5 restrictions have been extended until April 5th while schools and childcare will begin reopening next week.

    The Tánaiste says Covid-19 cases are still too high for a further easing of restrictions...

  • Tánaiste Leo Varadkar says NPHET's advice has always been that communions and confirmations shouldn't go ahead.

    The further cancellation wasn't included in the Chief Medical Officer's advice to Government this week.

    There was anger among parents and some priests about how casually the issue has been treated.

    Tánaiste Leo Varadkar says the cancelling of the sacraments is in line with previous advice, but he did not make reference to baptisms....


  • The Tánaiste has said there won't be time limits on tables for outdoor dining and drinking once it returns in June.

    The 9 euro substantial meal has also been scrapped, as has the limit on the number of people on a premises.

    Restaurants and pubs are still waiting on the formal advice from Fáilte Ireland.

    But Tánaiste Leo Varadkar explains how it will work.....


    Meanwhile, the Tanaiste says the prospect of a return to indoor dining and drinking will be evaluated in late June, with a view to returning in July.

    The factors which need to be favourable if indoor hospitality is to return include case numbers and the R number, hospitalisations, the rollout of the vaccine programme, and variants of the virus.


  • The Tanaiste says a Covid pass could mean avoiding another lockdown if there's a fourth wave of Covid 19 here.

    Leo Varadkar will meet with representatives from the hospitality industry this afternoon later, over growing anger about keeping indoor dining closed until at least the 19th of July.

    The sector is also angry about proposals to only allow vaccinated people dine indoors when it does resume.

    It comes after NPHET issued a stark warning to Government this week that the Delta variant is set to cause a significant fourth wave, which could cost up to 2,000 lives.

    There's been an angry reaction from the hospitality and tourism sectors to delaying the reopening of indoor hospitality, but Leo Varadkar believes this covid pass would be good for the country....


    The Tanaiste says he doesn't believe there will be a lockdown due to the Delta variant of Covid-19.

     Leo Varadkar has told the Irish Independent that the country will "weather through" a spike in cases by ramping up vaccinations and keeping the current restrictions in place.

     It comes as the five-day moving average of cases has increased by 28 percent in the past week - it now stands at 413.

     512 new cases of the virus were reported yesterday evening - the highest daily figure in nearly a month, with the Delta variant now accounting for about 70 percent of cases.

  • Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said there is “lots to be positive about” as the country is on track to ease Covid-19 restrictions further on May 4. 

    The Tanaiste says that, despite bumps in the vaccine roll-out plan, Ireland is still on track to meet its targets. 

    Mr Varadkar posted a video on social media last night to “reassure” the public after it was announced that the AstraZeneca vaccine is being restricted to those aged between 60 and 69 and the Johnson and Johnson jab has been paused. 

    He said we should not lose sight of the bigger picture, as for the first time this year, there are now  less than 200 people in hospital this week with Covid, less than 50 people in ICU, cases are falling, and the R number is below one. 

    He continued by saying “This week, all the schools went back, the 5km rule ended and we started building homes again, so lots of things to be positive about.”

    Mr Varadker noted that amendments will have to be made to the vaccine programme, but insisted it's still on track, and said we are also on track to ease restrictions on 4th May.