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WE'RE BACK Taoiseach Michael Martin says 'hope is returning' as lockdown restrictions are lifted


Michael Martin addressed the nation this evening

Michael Martin addressed the nation this evening

Michael Martin addressed the nation this evening

Michael Martin has ended one of the strictest lockdowns on the planet with a series of sweeping moves that will finally see a lifting of restrictions here in Ireland.

It comes after the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) gave the green light for a major easing of restrictions over the coming weeks.

In a live state address, An Taoiseach told the Irish public that “hope is returning” and that the Irish people’s sacrifices mean that much better times are just around the corner.

“The good news is that the strategy is working. Because of you hard work and sacrifices, we are now in a better place,” he passionately explained before continuing.

“By tonight, more than 1.5million vaccine doses will have been administered. That means close to 30 percent of everyone over 16 has received one dose of a vaccine.

“We have to monitor closely the issue of dangerous new variants and learn from the experience of other countries which are now in the midst of deadly new waves of the disease.

"We now believe it is safe to continue moving forward, in two phases, over the coming months.”

The highly-anticipated announcement outlined how the “the next phase will commence on the 10th of May” which will include the resumption of inter county travel, click and collect services (and shopping by appointment)

"It is with no small measure of personal relief that I can also confirm on the 10th of May, hairdressing and other personal services can open by appointment all across the country.

"The overriding priority is the continued successful rollout of the vaccine.

"No effort whatsoever will be spared to make sure that every vaccine we receive into the country is administered as quickly as possible.

“It has been a tough and unprecedented year in so many ways…you have done everything that has been asked of you. We as a government will continue to do everything we can to support you.

“As frustrating, as lonely and as sad as the last year has been; the company of friends is returning… hope is returning.”

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Tanaiste Leo Varadkar (Julien Behal Photography/PA)

Tanaiste Leo Varadkar (Julien Behal Photography/PA)

Tanaiste Leo Varadkar (Julien Behal Photography/PA)

As #Reopening trended on social media, An Taoiseach announced that from May 10 we will be able to travel beyond 20km and outside of our counties.

Personal services will also resume meaning barbers, hairdressers and beauty salons may open for bookings only. Click-and-collect services may resume for non-essential retail, with a full reopening of retail expected later in May, possibly May 17. Training for adults in pods of 15 for all sports can also resume from this date.

Fifty people may attend a public Mass, signaling a return to public worship. Crucially though, there will still be restrictions on funeral and wedding gatherings outside of the church ceremony.

Household visits are allowed once again among three households but these can only be in gardens unless people are fully vaccinated.

From June 2 hotels, B&Bs, guest houses and self-catering accommodation can reopen for guests which will offer the crippled tourism sector a beacon of hope for the crucial summer period.

From June 7 outdoor services in restaurants and bars will start again while outdoor sports, gyms, pools and leisure centres for individual training will open.

From June 7 one household will be allowed visit another household.

There is no firm date as to when indoor dining for restaurants and pubs will resume but it is expected to be later in June or July.

Wedding parties are also expected to be increased to 25 sometime in June.

Unfortunately for the arts industry no date has been offered for cinemas, theatres and other indoor attractions but it is likely to be sometime in June or July before these are reopened, as the Government continues to prioritise and favour outdoor activity.

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