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no end Taoiseach Micheál Martin has warned restrictions will remain in place well into the New Year

Taoiseach Micheál Martin reveals more focus will be placed on individual responsibility as restrictions ease

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Taoiseach Micheál Martin

Taoiseach Micheál Martin

Taoiseach Micheál Martin

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has warned some Covid-19 restrictions will remain in place well into the New Year, but said Ireland is moving into a “new era” of the pandemic.

Mr Martin said the coming months will see less of an emphasis on regulations and more focus on individual responsibility in the next stage in the fight against the virus.

However, he said the Government’s new roadmap for easing the remaining restrictions will cover “quite a number of months” before all social distancing rules are lifted.

“We will definitely go to Christmas and maybe into spring,” he said.

“We will have very high levels of vaccination and the emphasis will be on the basics of social distancing, the personal responsibilities and protecting ourselves sensibly. It will be a less regulatory phase.”

He said social distancing rules will remain in place “in many instances” and requirements to wear masks indoors and on public transport will be around for some time to come.

The Taoiseach was speaking after the Cabinet Committee on Covid-19 agreed to publish a new plan for living with the virus on August 31.

The plan will outline how different sectors can reopen and outline a pathway for allowing workers to return to offices.

“We do understand people want timelines and dates because in the absence of that they feel they’ll never open and they do need to plan,” he said. However, Mr Martin would not give any indication of the dates for when the live entertainment industry could reopen despite serious concerns raised by Arts Minister Catherine Martin.

Ms Martin questioned the Cabinet Committee’s failure to set a date and went as far as encouraging the entrainment sector to lobby her own ministerial colleagues.

She also demanded to sit on the Cabinet Committee. The Taoiseach said he has no problem with the minister attending next week’s meeting to discuss the reopening plan.

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