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Sam Boal

Publicans will 'make every effort' to provide later opening this weekend if given go-ahead

The National Public Health Emergency Team is due to issue its latest guidance to government tomorrow.

LAST UPDATE | 19 Jan 2022

TRANSPORT MINISTER EAMON Ryan has said he is hoping for an end to the 8pm curfew on hospitality by next week, prompting a vintners group to issue a statement that it would make every effort to provide later opening this weekend if given the green light by government. 

“I think we need to start bringing back some of our social life. It’s important for our health, wellbeing, welfare,” Ryan told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) is due to issue its latest guidance to government tomorrow. 

Ryan said it was likely Cabinet will wait until Friday, or early next week, to discuss the easing of Covid-19 restrictions. 

He said he expects it will be the “end of next week” when restrictions will begin to be lifted. 

“The position we’re in at the moment is a lot better than it looked a number of weeks ago,” he said. 

“The numbers in ICU have steadied,” Ryan said, adding that it “looks like it’s going to give us the chance to start lifting restrictions quickly, in my mind very widely”. 

The Minister said he also wants to see the return to office work restored “very quickly”. 

Ryan’s comments come after Tánaiste Leo Varadkar last night told a meeting of the Fine Gael parliamentary party that he hopes all restrictions, including the domestic use of Covid passes for pubs and restaurants, will be lifted by the end of March.

He expressed his wish to set 31 March as a deadline to end almost all legal restrictions. 

Varadkar noted we may have to keep some measures another while longer such as mask wearing in crowded places, staying at home when symptomatic and Covid passes for international travel.

Emergency Covid legislation which underpins the restrictions falls on 31 March.

The Licensed Vintners Association. which represents pubs in Dublin, said today that its members would “make every effort” to provide later trading this weekend if they are given the green light to do so by the Government.

The group called for the extension of pub opening hours to midnight as soon as possible, as well as the removal of all hospitality restrictions shortly afterwards.

“Various public health experts and senior representatives of the Government are indicating that the country has entered a new stage of the pandemic, so we are hopeful there will be good news for the reopening of hospitality in the coming days,” said Donall O’Keeffe, LVA’s Chief Executive.

“We would like to see the Government moving swiftly and allowing for the recovery of hospitality to begin as soon as possible.”

Separately today, Cabinet has approved plans for an additional public holiday and a national commemorative event on 18 March this year.

A €1,000 tax-free bonus for public sector healthcare workers has also been approved by Cabinet.

- With reporting by Christina Finn

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