Taoiseach Micheal Martin

  • The Taoiseach says a second lockdown "may not be a short one" if it's brought in to control the spread of Covid 19.

    Michael Martin hasn't ruled out moving the country to Level 4 restrictions in the coming week - but says it'd be "very severe and create a lot of damage".

    Earlier, Tanaiste Leo Varadkar suggested a short, hard lockdown - known as a circuit breaker - "may well be needed" in response to the rising number of cases.

    Taoiseach Michael Martin hopes a move to Level 4 can be avoided.

  • The Taoiseach has refused to speculate on suggestions that tight restrictions could be in place until June.

    Deputy CMO Dr Ronan Glynn said yesterday a "cautious approach" is needed until June to avoid another wave of the disease.

    But Taoiseach Michael Martin refused to speculate on any extension of restrictions.

    He says the government will re-assess the situation at the start of April.

  • The Taoiseach says any reopening of society will be cautious and conservative.

    Mícheál Martin says Covid 19 figures are reducing but there's still some way to go before restrictions can be eased.

    As it stands, the current Level 5 restrictions are due to last until March the 5th.

    Speaking on his way into Cabinet this morning, the Taoiseach seemed eager to play down people's expectations.

  • Taoiseach Micheal Martin told his party last night that the country is to remain in a "prolonged" period of restrictions to get virus numbers to a very low level.

    A further 1,006 new Covid-19 cases were announced last night, along with 54 deaths.

    The new cases include 46 in Galway, 8 in Mayo 7 in Sligo and less than 5 in both Leitrim and Roscommon.

    Mayo and Galway continue to have 14-day incidence rates of the virus that are above the national average.

    Meanwhile 990 patients are in public hospitals with the virus, the first time it has been below 1,000 in more than a month - while 167 are in ICU.

    There were 51 Covid patients being treated at Mayo University Hospital last night - down 2 on the previous night.

  • The country is set to move back to level 3 restrictions from next week, but the Taoiseach has cast doubt over large gatherings involving alcohol.

    The Cabinet remain at odds over whether pubs and restaurants should fully reopen ahead of the busy Christmas period, and final decisions around the easing of these restrictions are not expected to be hammered out until Thursday

    Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said shops will reopen from December 1.

    He said the Government will be "flexible" in terms of guidance that they will give families, particularly on Christmas week itself, but cautioned that "individual behaviour" and "our own collective behaviour is going to be critical" on how we get through the festive season.

    Clear divisions are emerging within Government over the level of restrictions that should be implemented in the coming weeks, with some ministers arguing that so-called wet pubs should stay shut. 

    However, others believe that if restaurants are allowed to serve customers indoors, then all other establishments should also be permitted to reopen.

    Mr Martin also said the rollout of an effective vaccine in the first half of 2021 would spark a "rebound for the economy".

  • The Taoiseach says the Covid-19 situation over the next ten days is "critical" for a number of counties.

    Cases are rising in a number of areas - and people are being urged to reduce the amount of people they socialise with.

    The warning comes are three counties have Covid-19 14-day incidence rates of more than 100 - Dublin, Donegal and Louth.

    Roscommon's 14-day incidence rate has been rising for 12 days and the county now  has 57 cases per 100,000 people per fortnight, while Leitrim's rate has been falling for the last 6 days and is now at 34.3, while Mayo's 14-day incidence rate is 29.9.

    The counties with the lowest incidence rates are now Kerry, Sligo and Tipperary.

    The National Public Health Emergency Team is meeting today to discuss if more counties should be moved to Level 3 of restrictions alongside Dublin.

  • Ireland's exit from Level 5 will be much slower than previous lockdowns, according to the Taoiseach.

    Micheal Martin says there'll be a 'conservative' approach, to work alongside the vaccination rollout.

    Current Level 5 restrictions are due to be formally extended into February following a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

    Micheal Martin says any easing of restrictions will be gradual.

  • Taoiseach Micheál Martin says the government is giving "very active consideration" to moving the country to level five restrictions.

    NPHET has recommended a six week lockdown of the country to combat the increasing spread of the virus.

    The leaders of the three government parties will meet tomorrow with the Ministers for Health, Finance and Public Expenditure to discuss whether or not to accept the recommendation.

    Speaking in Brussels this afternoon Taoiseach Micheál Martin didn't put a timeline on when a decision can be expected.

  • The new UK variant of Covid-19 has been found in nearly half of the most recent cases examined here.

    Last week, the strain - which can spread much easier - was detected in 25 per cent of samples tested, but accounted for 45% of the most recent 92 samples that underwent additional testing.

    Taoiseach Michael Martin says the update from the Chief Medical Officer shows the variant is becoming a real issue:

     

  • The Taosieach says the Oireachtas golf society event potentially undermines the public health message.

    It comes after Agriculture Minister Dara Calleary resigned after he attended an event that breached Covid 19 guidelines, in a hotel in Galway on Wednesday.

    Micheal Martin also called on EU Commissioner Phil Hogan to apologise for attending the gathering.

    Speaking to RTE this evening, the Taoiseach said he was annoyed and upset by the controversy.

  • The Taoiseach says Phil Hogan has undermined public health guidelines and the changing narrative in his story has been a challenge.

    The future of the under-pressure Commissioner hangs in the balance following the Golfgate controversy that erupted after he attended a golf dinner in Clifden last week.

    Taoiseach Micheál Martin wouldn't be drawn this evening on whether or not Phil Hogan should resign.

    But he admits there have been difficulties with his account of what happened.

     

    Phil Hogan yesterday published details of his recent trip to Ireland, which included playing in the Oireachtas golf society tournament in Connemara, and attending a dinner afterwards in Clifden.

    However, that account failed to mention a social visit he made to Co Roscommon en route to Clifden last week.

    This morning, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said the Government has lost confidence in Commissioner Hogan, as he had breached public health advice.

    The EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will now decide the fate of Phil Hogan.  

  • The re-opening of the country will be led by data, not dates, according to the Taoiseach.

    Under the Government's roadmap for reopening the country, Level 5 restrictions have been extended until at least April 5th with a review before Easter.

    Schools will re-open on a phased basis next week with childcare also re-opening in March.

    Leaving cert students will return to school next Monday, while at primary school level, children from junior infants up to second class will also return on Monday.

    All other primary school students and 5th year at second-level will return 2 weeks later on 15th March, and remaining secondary school students on 12th April, after the Easter break.

    But there will be no other changes before April.

  • The Cabinet is meeting at present to sign off on the Government's revised Living with Covid-19 plan, and Taoiseach Micheál Martin will address the country later this evening - that's expected about 6pm.

    The phased reopening of schools and childcare will be prioritised in the plan, while Level 5 restrictions look set to be extended until at least 5 April.

    There will also be an updated vaccination priority list, where those with underlying illnesses are set to be moved up the list.

  • The Taoiseach has agreed to meet with management from Ireland West Airport Knock in the coming days to discuss the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

    The Mayo airport is to close next week for a month, as a result of Ryanair suspending operations from all regional airports for a 4-week period before Christmas.

    Passenger numbers have plummeted at the airport this year, and losses are mounting.

    Mayo Fianna Fail TD Dara Calleary told Midwest News that Taoiseach Mícheal Martin is aware of the importance of the airport to this region, and has agreed to meet management in the coming days to discuss what assistance might be forthcoming.. 

  • Ireland is in for the "long haul" in its fight to suppress Covid-19, according to the Taoiseach.

    Míchéal Martin told his parliamentary party last night that the UK variant is increasing the disease's reproductive number by zero-point-five and is slowing the decline in case numbers.

    He also told members that reopening schools and construction will be the priority during Level 5, and he expects the numbers of people in hospital to be around 800 by the end of the month.

     

    94 further Covid-19 deaths were reported last night, as well as 1,013 new cases.

    96 of the new cases are in Galway, with 20 in Mayo,17 in Sligo, and less than 5 in both Roscommon and Leitrim.

    Galway has recorded over 1,000 new cases of the virus over the past 2 weeks, with almost 600 new cases in Mayo.

    There are currently 1,300 people with Covid-19 in public hospitals - including 57 Covid patients at Mayo University Hospital, 45 at Galway University Hospital, 39 in Sligo and 8 at Portiuncla in Ballinasloe.

     

     

  • The Taoiseach has said there will need to be prolonged suppression of COVID-19 to keep hospital numbers down.

    Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said some parts of the economy may be able to open when current restrictions expire on the 5th of March.

    However, he warned it would be a slow lifting of measures, rather than a full return to Level 3.

    Taoiseach Micheál Martin has warned restrictions will be with us for some time to come.

  • The Taoiseach Míchéal Martin has said getting the reproductive rate of the virus consistently below one is the target of the new lockdown.

    The exit strategy involves getting the R rate as low as 0.5 if possible.

    Some tweaks have been made to the plan this morning - including increasing the number of people who can attend a funeral to 25.

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    Cabinet Ministers have approved the plan for re-opening the economy over the next few months.

    There will be a significant easing of restrictions from May 10th with the Taoiseach to address the nation around 6pm.

     

    May 10th will be a significant day with the inter-county travel ban lifted, meet ups in gardens allowed and social visits with vaccinated people indoors approved.

    Retail will start opening, hairdressers, barbers and beauticians can open their doors with outdoor sports training resuming.

    Religious services will return, the amount allowed at funerals and weddings will increase to 50 people - but only for the service, with the afters of a wedding limited to 6 people indoors and 15 outdoors.

    Health Minister Stephen Donnelly says it's a good news day - but not an excuse for everyone to go mad.

    Indeed there is concern in some quarters in government buildings that things are going too fast.

    Essentially it seems NPHET and the government are banking on the vaccination programme ramping up to an extent that will offset any impact on hospital and ICU numbers, even if the number of new cases starts to rise.