Covid-19 Ireland – Leo says lockdown could be behind us and Government will green light FOUR St Patrick’s weekend

The GOVERNMENT has given the green light to FOUR St Patrick’s weekends to thank the public for their efforts during the pandemic and to remember all those who have lost their lives to Covid-19.

And the healthcare heroes who have kept our hospitals, nursing homes, and GP practices afloat during the pandemic will receive a 1,000 € one time Thank you payment from the State.

The new bank holiday will span a 4-day St Patrick's weekend with a series of events to thank people for their efforts during the pandemic


The new bank holiday will span a 4-day St Patrick’s weekend with a series of events to thank people for their efforts during the pandemicCredit: PA: Press Association
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar says Ireland should reopen quickly after restrictions


Taoiseach Leo Varadkar says Ireland should reopen quickly after restrictionsCredit: Collins photo

It happens when the Government is set to sanction quickly remove the restrictions of Covid on Friday when Tanaiste Leo Varadkar said it was hoping to move into a new phase of the pandemic where lockdowns are no longer needed.

Health bosses today confirmed 6,843 new positive PCR and 5,295 antigen cases today, like 52 new deaths were also reported last week, bringing the death toll to 6,087.

Ministers today signed into law three new measures to thank the country for its vital role in getting Ireland through the Covid-19 crisis over the past two years.

The first measure would be a new one-off off-bank holiday on Friday 18 March, which along with the usual St Patrick’s Day would create a four-day weekend.

As part of this, the Government is planning to hold a large State ceremony on Sunday 20 March in memory of the more than 6,000 people in Ireland who have lost their lives to Covid-19 over the past two years.

A series of events will be held over the four-day weekend to thank people for their efforts during the pandemic, including one that will mark the special role volunteers play during the crisis. .

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This will be followed by a new annual bank holiday on St Brigid’s Day which will take place on the first Monday of February every year – the first will be February 6, 2023.

Each bank holiday will cost the State 50 million euros but the Ministers believe they will stimulate enormous economic activity and provide a much-needed boost to the stricken tourism and hospitality sectors. heavy influence.

The New Year’s Bank Holiday is the first national holiday named after a woman and also marks the time between the winter solstice and the spring equinox.


The third ‘thank you’ measure announced today is a €1,000 payment to all workers who have fought on the front lines in the battle against Covid-19.

This tax-free payment will be made available to all nurses, doctors, healthcare assistants, ambulance staff, hospital cleaners, porters, Covid test swabs -19 and members of the Self-Defense Forces have been transferred to respond to the pandemic.

Those already working in nursing homes, student nurses and part-time healthcare workers will also benefit from a payment of €1,000 on a pro rata basis.

This payment is expected to be paid to more than 100,000 people and will cost the State more than 100 million euros.

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said it wanted to get the bonus of 1,000 euros into workers’ pockets as soon as possible and announced they would not have to wait until the summer.

Gardai, bus drivers, train drivers and others have been encouraged to claim the special Covid bonus, however, Public Expenditure Minister McGrath says they are focused on healthcare workers because this is the case. “fairest, simplest and most efficient way” to implement payments.


Family Carers Ireland today called for carers to be included in the bonus scheme as they claim an extra bank holiday will do them no good.

Minister McGrath said: “The reality is if you go beyond healthcare it is very difficult to know where to draw the line.

“We have about 350,000 civil servants who have exceeded their usual duties in the last two years and we acknowledge that and that is why we have added a public holiday for general recognition.

“There are different groups in the public sector that can make very legitimate cases that they’ve done extra duty and put themselves at some risk, and we fully acknowledge that.”

Taoiseach Michael Martin says Cabinet will meet on Friday to review NPHET's recommendations


Taoiseach Michael Martin says Cabinet will meet on Friday to review NPHET’s recommendationsCredit: PA
A special event is planned for St Patrick's long weekend to mark the lives lost to Covid


A special event is planned for St Patrick’s long weekend to mark the lives lost to CovidCredit: Getty

He added: “As Government we really appreciate the work they have done in that time period but when it comes to decisions we have to face the reality of trying to identify where you draw the line.

“We see it all as one Government that taking care of our own health alone is the fairest, simplest and most effective demonstration of our support for that sector. .”

Fianna Fail TD also urges private companies to follow the direction of the Government and reward their workers for their hard work during the pandemic.


It comes when the National Public Health Emergency Group is meeting tomorrow to Assess the current situation of Covid-19 and give new advice to the Government on lifting restrictions.

Taoiseach Michael Martin today confirmed that the Cabinet will meet again on Friday to finalize a plan with a full roadmap on restrictions to be published later that day.

It is expected that the 8pm curfew for pubs and restaurants as well as capacity limits for indoor and outdoor events will be the first restrictions to be eased as early as Monday.

Tanaiste Leo Varadkar said Ireland is moving into a new phase of dealing with Covid-19, which will leave restrictions in the past.

“The pandemic is far from over, but there are pandemics that have been going on for 40 years now and they don’t necessarily require us to impose lockdowns and restrictions on people,” he said.

“They can be managed in many different ways and I hope that we have gotten to that point and we can manage this virus in a way that we can manage any virus. other that people get sick and really put pressure on the health service.

“No one can rule out the possibility of a worrying variant in the future with significant vaccine evasion forcing us to go backwards.

“But for me, in a way, that’s all the more reason for us to be more open-minded when we can.

“While it is safe to do so, we should open up while we can and we should do so quickly as there is the potential for another worrying variant with significant vaccine escapes that could be could make us go back.”

Covid-19 Ireland – Taoiseach vows Covid restrictions on Friday as Ryan says pub rules are lifted ‘next week’ Covid-19 Ireland – Leo says lockdown could be behind us and Government will green light FOUR St Patrick’s weekend

Fry Electronics Team

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