Taoiseach: Country will be in a position to reopen in the coming weeks and beyond

'I think we're pretty pleased where we are now, everything we said we do we have done'
Taoiseach: Country will be in a position to reopen in the coming weeks and beyond

People enjoy the warm weather at a swimming spot by the Martello Tower at Seapoint Beach near Dublin. Picture: Niall Carson/PA

Micheál Martin says the country will be in a position to reopen in the "coming weeks and beyond."

The Taoiseach said that there was a positive feeling about the continuing downward trend of Covid-19 cases after the Tanaiste Leo Varadkar said earlier today that hospitality may reopen in July.

"I think we're pretty pleased where we are now, everything we said we do we have done," he said.

"The numbers are better than where we thought there would be at this particular point in time.

"We will examine a week before the end of this period, and we will give a comprehensive clear announcement to the public, and certainty to a whole range of sectors that are suffering.

We will be looking at hotels, guest houses and B&Bs for June, for example.

"We've got to be careful to make sure we keep the downward momentum.

"We are conscious of two things — relieving the pressure that people are in their economic lives, in terms of work, and the terms of their businesses, mentally and psychologically, there's a number of weeks ahead of us. 

"But as I said we will be engaging in the phased reopening of society and our economy.

"When I met people in certain businesses and so on, one key refrain was, if you open us this time, keep us open."

Taoiseach Micheál Martin:  The numbers are better than where we thought there would be at this particular point in time. Picture: Brian Lawless/PA
Taoiseach Micheál Martin:  The numbers are better than where we thought there would be at this particular point in time. Picture: Brian Lawless/PA

Mr Martin added that they can "never be definitive" about another lockdown, but the EU commission is currently in the process of securing extra vaccines should they be needed for "boosters" next year, ordering hundreds of millions more vaccines for 2022 and 2023.

"We took a setback with AstraZeneca," he said.

"It was actually a sensible thing to do on the basis of such limited data, I'm not going to second guess clinical perspective on this, I think AstraZeneca, is overall a very safe vaccine."

Mr Martin, who is 60, said he would take the AstraZeneca vaccine without hesitation.

"We have to administer the vaccines in accordance with the advice we received from the National Immunisation Advisory Committee and the chief medical officer," he said.

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