Taoiseach expected to address nation tonight, Eamon Ryan says

ireland
Taoiseach Expected To Address Nation Tonight, Eamon Ryan Says Taoiseach Expected To Address Nation Tonight, Eamon Ryan Says
Eamon Ryan said sporting events could go ahead over the Christmas period but with reduced numbers. Photo: PA
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Vivienne Clarke

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan has said sporting events could go ahead over the Christmas period, but that the numbers attending should be reduced.

This would avoid superspreader events like Cheltenham, he told RTÉ's Morning Ireland.

“Even outdoors there are risks, but the events should go ahead, I’d rather that than they cancel,” he said.

His comments follow recommendations from the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) that the Government imposes a 5pm curfew for hospitality and curtails crowds at sports events due to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant in Ireland.

Nphet met on Thursday afternoon and finalised its recommendations to the Government, which are aimed at reducing socialising before and after the festive period.

People will be asked to limit their social interactions in the lead-up to Christmas, especially if there will be so-called intergenerational mixing.

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Taoiseach Micheál Martin is expected to return from a European Union summit in Brussels on Friday afternoon and a Cabinet meeting is expected soon after.

A tightening of rules around close contacts and the accompanying requirement to isolate is also expected.

New restrictions

When asked if the Taoiseach would go on national television on Friday evening to announce new restrictions, Mr Ryan said it was “likely” but that the details would have to be agreed at the Cabinet meeting.

People needed a clear way forward, they could still have a social Christmas as that was important for mental health, but they needed to do that in a careful way, he said.

None of the details of future restrictions as recommended by Nphet had been agreed yet, he said. There may be variations to what Nphet had recommended. The key thing was to have a safe Christmas.

Mr Ryan urged anyone who has not yet been vaccinated to do so and for people to register for the booster vaccine, that was the best level of protection against the virus.

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The Government was there to support businesses through this difficult time and a lot more would be known about the Omicron variant in the coming weeks which meant they could be better prepared to help businesses.

“We will do what we have to do to protect lives and livelihoods,” he said.

Any new restrictions had to be “workable” and “the simpler, the better,” he added. “This has been a terrible, torturous long road.”

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