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21st Jan 2022

Covid restrictions: What can we expect to see today?

Pascal Donohoe said it was “reasonable to expect” Ireland would exit restrictions more quickly than expected.

News emerged on Thursday night that the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) has recommended a major easing of Covid-19 restrictions to government.

The public health team had met earlier on Thursday to discuss the epidemiological situation in Ireland, and advised that the government could remove most restrictions.

NPHET did not recommend a timeline for the removal of restrictions, but left it at the government’s discretion.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Prime Time on Thursday night, Minister for Finance Pascal Donohoe said it was “reasonable to expect” that Ireland will exit Covid-19 regulations more quickly than it would have seemed possible just a few days ago.

Initially, it was expected that the hospitality curfew would be lifted next week, but now it seems likely that all other Covid-19 restrictions could be lifted at the same time.

Limits on household visits, sporting events and weddings could be swiftly lifted.

However, Covid certificates will still be needed for international travel and there will be a requirement to isolate if symptomatic, while a return to working in the office is expected to be phased.

So what can we expect to happen today?

  • The three coalition leaders, Micheál Martin, Leo Varadkar and Eamon Ryan will meet on Friday morning to agree on a timeline of the easing of restrictions.
  • There will be a Cabinet meeting at 3pm where all the changes are approved.
  • Any doubts or changes to the reopening will then be reported in the media.
  • Then at 6pm, Taoiseach Micheál Martin will address the country in a podium address and officially confirm the timeline for reopening.

Main image via Sam Boal/