Widespread return to work in October 'a little less likely', says Paschal Donohoe

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Widespread Return To Work In October 'A Little Less Likely', Says Paschal Donohoe
Mr Donohoe said that there were “some signs that were of concern”. Photo: PA Images
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Vivienne Clarke

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe has said that it was “a little less likely” that there would be a widespread return to the workplace on October 22nd.

The Government would have to “look very carefully” at the situation next week following a meeting with Nphet, he told Newstalk’s Pat Kenny show.

“We will have to see where we are with the disease.”

Mr Donohoe said that there were “some signs that were of concern” and that the Government wanted to avoid a situation where the progress that had been made would be reversed.

Nphet would meet on Monday and the Government would decide on Tuesday as businesses deserved clarity on the situation. “We need to ensure that we don’t step back.”

The virus was “unknowable and inherently unpredictable” he warned and was still very infectious. Hospitals were already very busy and winter was traditionally a difficult time.

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There may be a case “for going further” he added, with regard to the booster campaign. “We may have to do more with vaccines as we move later into the year.”

When asked about provisions in the Budget for Covid-19, Mr Donohoe said he would never forget the few weeks around last year’s Budget when he had to make plans in case of another lockdown. “The reality is that by June this year all of the funds set aside in last year’s Budget were gone” which was why he set aside further funds in Budget 2022.

“You never really know what’s around the corner.”

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