Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said that the further easing of restrictions is “another major step forward”.
The restrictions that are eased as of today will see mass gatherings and indoor events return at a 75% capacity.
Further restrictions could be eased by September 20, including a phased return to the workplace and offices.
The Fine Gael leader also said that this easing of restrictions has been made possible due to Ireland’s “world class vaccination programme, which is now suppressing the Delta wave”.
Varadkar also hailed the return of hundreds of businesses, some for the first time since March 2020 as “another major step forward, as we move towards a new normal”.
“While some sectors experienced on and off lockdowns, these sectors have experienced one long lockdown, which ends today”, he said.
“all things going well”
Leo Varadkar also added that these sectors must operate using vaccine passes at a reduced capacity.
But he did say that these restrictions will be removed by October 22 “all things going well”.
“The Government recognises the enormous sacrifices made by staff and business owners in these sectors”, he added. “We know that continued financial support will be needed”.
Meanwhile, Leo Varadkar came under fire after being pictured at London’s Mighty Hoopla gig, the same weekend that Electric Picnic was supposed to take place in Ireland.
Singer Mary Coughlin blasted the Tánaiste, calling his attendance “pure stupid”. Coughlin also said that it was in “poor taste”.
“It’s tone deaf, it’s pure stupid”, the singer said. “He doesn’t seem to have any understanding of what it’s been like really”.
“I just thought it was in very poor taste really and he did meet us at the very last minute last week after a whole year and a half of it”, she added.
“He met with Minister Martin, the Taoiseach and members of the LPSS and MIA for the first time ever”.
“And then he made the pronouncement, ‘I’d like to see Electric Picnic go ahead'”.
She continued, “He just seemed like he didn’t have a clue. I’d question what’s going through his head. ‘I’m off to London for the weekend and I’ll have my picture taken here in a very public place’, and at home everyone’s holding their Electric Picnic tickets and wondering what they’ll do with them, waiting for reimbursement”.
The Galway native also added, “It’s like one thing for them and another thing for us”.
“It’s very very poor taste and he is entitled to go to a gig if he wants to but they should have put more thought and effort into organising the same events here outdoors safely”.
Varadkar and Merriongate
This scandal comes just weeks after Leo Varadkar admitted that “mistakes were made” in the appointment of Katehrine Zappone as UN Special Envoy.
It had also emerged that Zappone had hosted a gathering of 50 people at Dublin’s Merrion Hotel, which was attended by the Tánaiste. More on that here.