Curfew on pubs and restaurants likely to be lifted from start of February, says Taoiseach 6 months ago

Curfew on pubs and restaurants likely to be lifted from start of February, says Taoiseach

"Governments don't want restrictions on hospitality."

Taoiseach Micheal Martin has said that he is hopeful Ireland's hospitality sector will be allowed open after 8pm from the start of February.

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Appearing on Friday night's Late Late Show, the Taoiseach said that restrictions may be eased in a matter of weeks.

When asked by host Ryan Tubridy if pubs will be allowed to open after 8pm from 1 February, the Taoiseach replied: "I would hope so."

"I don't want to make any decision today," he continued. "If we continue to make the progress we are making we will be able to look favourably on stuff like that.

"Governments don't want restrictions on hospitality."

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He added that he is optimistic about the future as the Omicron strain of Covid is now stabilising here in Ireland.

"To be straight with you, it is stabilising here, the progress is clear to be seen now, the hospital levels are certainly stabilising and how seriously ill people are is certainly down on previous waves.

"Hospitalisations are stable, Omicron has not penetrated ICU to the degree that people feared, quite a lot of the ICU numbers are still Delta patients.

"Cases are coming down, albeit from a very high level, but they are coming down.

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"I think we are going to get stronger in 2022, vaccines have been a game changer and the booster has helped with Omicron.

"Take it steady over the next week or two, I think by the end of next week we will be in a position to make decisions in terms of restrictions."

He also gave an update on the Leaving Certificate, saying that the possibility of a hybrid Leaving Cert has not yet been ruled out but an official decision will be made in the coming weeks.

He added that there will be "wider choice" of questions on the Leaving Cert papers this year.

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