Ireland marks major turning point in fight against Covid with restrictions removed after historic speech

IRELAND today marks a major turning point in the fight against Covid – with all pandemic restrictions removed and Taoiseach declaring: “It’s time to be yourself again”.

In a historic speech from the steps of Government buildings, Michael Martin touched to the country “We need to see each other again” as he announced an end to restrictions that have kept us apart for nearly two years.

Most of Covid restrictions have been removed


Most of Covid restrictions have been removedCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Nightclubs will reopen next week


Nightclubs will reopen next weekCredit: Getty
Taoiseach Michael Martin


Taoiseach Michael Martin

Following advice from National public health emergency group, the Cabinet has decided to remove ALL Covid-19 restrictions as of today – except for wearing a mask under certain circumstances, isolation after a positive test result, and travel.

Today will mark Ireland’s Freedom Day from Covid crisis, with all rules on courtesy visits, two meters away, restrictions on hospitality and capacity limits at events lifted.

In his speech to the nation, Taoiseach thanked the people of Ireland for the collective efforts that he said have saved thousands of lives during the pandemic.

The Fianna Fail The leader paid tribute to the thousands of people who died during the crisis and who could not be mourned the way they deserved.

He acknowledged the country had had dark days, but added “today is a good day”.

Taoiseach says that Ireland’s world-class vaccination program has helped the country “survive Hurricane Omicron”.

Most read in The Irish Sun

He predicted a temporary increase in infections in the coming days as part of the reopening process, but its impact will be limited by the number of people who have had booster shots.

Mr. Martin said: “Spring is coming. I don’t know if I’ve ever looked forward to one as much as I’ve been looking forward to this one.


“Humans are social creatures and we Irish are more social than most. As we look forward to this spring, we need to meet again, we need to see each other smile, we need to sing again.”

Taoiseach said he was looking forward to celebrating Ireland’s new freedoms with a pint over the weekend – and confirmed that people could shake hands again.

For the first time in nearly two years, people will now be able to walk into a pub and sit at a bar to enjoy a drink.

The six-person limit at a table was scrapped along with an 8pm curfew as the hospitality sector returned to normal trading hours for the first time in 22 months.

The controversial vaccine delivery system is also ending today for domestic use. However, it will still be necessary for international travel in the near future.

The chief executive officer of the Association of Licensed Vintners, Donall O’Keeffe, last night said the announcement marks a “monumental day for all hospitality”.


“We are just thrilled to see hospitality return and start to return to normal,” he said.

“We can’t wait to see the towns and cities around Ireland thrive again at night and the full return of Ireland’s world-renowned hospitality.

“We are also really looking forward to seeing our customers at the bar again. We’re sure to have more toasts raised across the country in celebration this weekend. ”

The head of the Irish Vintners Federation, Padraig Cribben, said: “Overnight we bid farewell to vaccination cards, mandatory table service, contact details, six per table, sitting all the time, social distancing. one meter assembly, no pool or darts and bar use prohibited.

“It is remarkable to see it all coming to an end.”

Hard-hit Ireland’s nightclubs will also be allowed to open unrestricted for the first time during the pandemic – but that won’t happen until next week as they have to get a late permit from the courts, which Not open until Monday.


Companies affected by the final round of restrictions will receive a double payment of the Covid Limited Assistance Program next week before the program ends.

The employment wage subsidy scheme will be cut in the coming months before it ends April 31 – with the exception of hospitality and event businesses which will receive an extra month of support.

People on pthe popular unemployment pay will not have a pay cut until March before the support ends in April as the Government wants to give people more time looking for work.

All capacity restrictions on indoor and outdoor events, including weddings, have been removed with Ireland set to see a full return of stadiums for events. upcoming GAA and rugby matches.

Meanwhile, Arts Minister Catherine Martin last night confirmed the St Patrick’s Day parade will take place this year, after two years of postponement of our national holiday celebrations.

House parties are also back on the cards from today, with a three-household limit for social visits.


Employers will eventually be allowed to begin bringing their workers back to the office in phases starting Monday.

Tanaiste Leo Varadkar Last night said the Government did not set a timetable for a phased reopening as he revealed it would let employers and workers decide how they return to the office.

The Irish Trades Union Congress called on companies to go ahead with flexible and remote working arrangements, as it claimed today’s lifting of restrictions was “not without risk”.

The wearing of masks will remain mandatory for hotel staff, those using public transport and at retail stores.

Existing public health measures in schools and homes will also be in place, including the wearing of masks, until the end of February when they will be reviewed.

Anyone who has the virus or who is considered close contact is still advised to follow current isolation advice which will also be reviewed at the end of next month.


Medical director Dr. Tony Holohan to ease the concerns of those worried that Ireland is reopening too quickly.

“We know there are residents who are still worried about the impact of this,” he said.

“You can count on your boosters and vaccines.

“You can be confident that all of the basic protections that you have taken and that have been implemented by the population to control transmission of each variant will control transmission and will protect you from Omicron.”

The CMO warned the pandemic is not over yet as he said public health experts will remain vigilant for dangerous new variants.

However, Dr Holohan said Ireland was in a new phase of its response to Covid-19 equipped with a high level of natural protection, new vaccines and improved antiviral drugs.

We could see a “sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth or tenth wave” of this pandemic, Mr Varadkar added, and the Government has confirmed it will work on a long-term plan on how to deal with new variations as they come.

Pubs will be open without restrictions


Pubs will be open without restrictions
MO Dr. Tony Holohan


MO Dr. Tony Holohan
Taoiseach Michael Martin says NPHET report confirms Ireland has ‘passed out storm Omicron’ and restrictions can be eased Ireland marks major turning point in fight against Covid with restrictions removed after historic speech

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