Taoiseach Micheal Martin. Leah Farrell
lifting lockdown

Government trails 'positive announcement' as Cabinet sub-committee meets to decide on easing restrictions

Tomorrow’s announcement will focus on a timeline for the reopening of sectors such as aviation, tourism and hospitality.

LAST UPDATE | May 27th 2021, 7:16 PM

THE MEETING OF THE Cabinet sub-committee on Covid-19 is taking place this evening ahead of tomorrow’s announcement of a timeline for the easing of restrictions.

Cabinet will meet tomorrow to sign-off on a timeline for the reopening of sectors such as aviation, tourism and hospitality. 

A sub-committee on economic matters met this afternoon but this evening’s Covid sub-committee meeting is likely to decide on the issues such as Ireland’s approach to summer international travel and live events.

The leaders of the three coalition parties are also expected to hold discussions. 

An announcement on the government’s plans for pandemic welfare supports will not take place tomorrow and will be delivered next week. 

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar told party colleagues last night that the plans for financial supports will be discussed at Cabinet next Tuesday before an announcement is made. 

Varadkar said there would be no dramatic changes, stating that payments will have to be phased out.

Speaking in Dáil today, Labour leader Alan Kelly called it tomorrow a “big announcement” while Varadkar described it as a “positive announcement”.

Varadkar referenced said the number of people in ICU is below 50 and that the number of cases was “stable at about 400 or 500 a day”. Health officials this evening confirmed a further 436 cases and reported that 41 people with Covid-19 were in ICU. 

“We are ahead of ourselves in terms of where we thought we would be with hospitalisations and cases,” the Tánaiste said.

For that reason, we can look forward to a very positive announcement on Friday regarding the reopening of society and economy and the phased return to international travel, events and other matters.

Yesterday, Fáilte Ireland announced its guidelines for the first phase of a partial reopening of hospitality, with the plans drawing both support and criticism.

The guidelines were being prepared ahead of the return of outdoor dining and drinking in restaurants and pubs from 7 June.

There is no fixed date set for the wider return of indoor dining beyond hotels but it’s expected to be some time in July.

Plans for travel and tourism will centre on how and when Ireland plans to use the EU’s Green Cert system when it becomes operational by the end of June.

The system is being prepared to allow for tourism in the EU this summer and will create a digital health pass that displays a person’s vaccination status, results of Covid-19 tests or whether they have recovered from a coronavirus infection.

Different EU member states may sign up to different elements of the plan at different times, with suggestions that Ireland may opt to allow fully vaccinated people to travel.

In the Dáil this morning, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly said that half of Ireland’s adult population will have received at least one Covid-19 vaccination by the end of this week but he warned that it was “unclear” whether the target of vaccinating 80% of the population by the end of June would be met. 

Donnelly told TDs there were “serious concerns” over the supply of the Janssen vaccine in the coming weeks.

“It looks like we’re going to get a significant under-delivery on Janssen and there are question marks as to what’s going to come in from AstraZeneca,” the Wicklow TD said.

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