Taoiseach Micheal Martin

  • 5 further deaths and 1,095 new cases of Covid-19 were confirmed yesterday evening - a record daily figure.

    This includes 50 additional cases in Co Galway, 13 in Mayo, 14 in Sligo, 8 in Roscommon and less than 5 in Leitrim.

    The 14-day incidence rate nationally is now at 190 per 100,000 people - Sligo is currently at 207,  Roscommon 189, Galway 174, Leitrim 146 and Mayo is 89 per 100,000 population - the 5th lowest rate in the 26 counties.

    The Taoiseach has warned that "things may get worse before they get better" in relation to Covid-19, but said the country can get through this, if people work together and adhere to the rules.

    He was speaking last night, after the Cabinet agreed to move the three border counties of Cavan, Monaghan and Donegal to level 4 restrictions from midnight for 4 weeks.

    It means all non-essential retail will close, only key workers should travel to work, while gyms and hairdressers will close.

     

    The entire country has also been placed on an enhanced level three, where all visits to homes or gardens are banned with some essential exemptions.

  • The Taoiseach has warned Brexit talks are on a knife-edge ahead of a crunch meeting this evening.

    British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will try to end the current impasse over dinner in Brussels.

    Earlier Boris Johnson told the House of Commons that the EU is making unacceptable demands.

  • The Taoiseach says a decision on exiting Level 5 restrictions will be made next week.

    Micheál Martin told a meeting of the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party last night that he wants people to have a 'wholesome and enjoyable' Christmas.

    A Dáil debate on exiting Level 5 in early December will take place on Tuesday, however the ultimate decision will be taken by cabinet later in the week.

    It comes as the death toll associated with Covid-19 here has now passed 2,000, after a further 12 deaths were reported yesterday along with 379 new cases.

    This includes 17 new cases in Galway, 10 in Mayo, 6 in Sligo, 5 in Roscommon and less than 5 in Leitrim.

    Roscommon is currently the only Connacht county with a 14-day incidence rate higher than the national average.

    The average 14-day rate nationally is now just under 120 cases per 100,000 people - in Roscommon, it's 158 and is now the 5th highest county in the country.

    Meanwhile, Galway now has the 3rd lowest 14-day rate.

    The National Public Health Emergency Team will meet today amid concerns that the progress in tackling Covid-19 has slowed significantly over the past week.

  • The Taoiseach is warning the full reopening of pubs could be delayed.

    Micheál Martin is hitting out at the scenes over the weekend, where hundreds of people gathered to drink in some locations.

    Pubs are due to fully reopen on July 20th.

    But speaking on Red FM today, the Fianna Fáil leader said that may not now go ahead.

  • The government advice against all non-essential foreign travel has been extended until July 20th.

    A potential 'green list' of countries people can travel to safely is due to be published in two weeks' time.

    However, that list will be reviewed every two weeks and will likely change if the health situation in one of those countries escalates.

     

  • New restrictions have been announced by the Government this evening, to contain the spread of Covid-19. 

    Following today's cabinet meeting, the number of people that can visit a home is being reduced to 6 people, from no more than 3 households, and outdoor events will be limited to 15 people -until at least September 13th.

    Over 70's are being asked to limit their contacts and to shop at designated times, while all sports events are to take place without spectators.

    People are being advised to avoid public transport and to continue to work from home. 

    Legislation is also being considered to give Gardai greater powers to enforce the measures.

    Taoiseach Michael Martin says we have to redouble our efforts to tackle the virus.

  • Pubs will notbe allowed to reopen next Monday amid concern at the increased rate of spread of Covid-18.

    The government has agreed to delay the move to Phase 4 of the reopening  of the country as the case numbers continue to rise.

    Taoiseach Micheal Martin says he knows the decision comes as a disappointment to many businesses, but says it's vital we continue to take a cautious approach.

    It means pub and hotel bars not serving food, nightclubs and casinos will remain closed - the decision will be reviewed in three weeks.

    The Taoiseach also said the size of crowds gathering will remain at 200 outdoors and 50 indoors.

    Face coverings will be mandatory in shops and shopping centres from next Monday 10th August.

    Meanwhile, the 'green list' of countries for foreign travel has been reduced from 15 to 10 due to the spread of the virus.

    Malta, Cyprus, Gibraltor, Monaco and San Marino have been dropped from the list of countries deemed safe to travel to.

  • The Taoiseach has made a formal state apology to the victims and survivors of Mother and Baby Homes.

    Micheál Martin told the Dáil that basic kindness was not shown to vulnerable women by either church or state.

    The Taoiseach described the treatment of these women as a flagrant breach of human rights.

    He said an apology is not enough and committed to responding to the recommendations of the Commission on Mother and Baby Homes' report.

    Taoiseach Micheál Martin made a formal apology on behalf of the state in the last hour.

  • An extension of school holidays after Christmas is being suggested to decrease the risk of transmission of Covid-19.

    The European Centre for Disease Control is warning of an increased risk of infection during the festive season.

    In a new report, it says the risk for vulnerable people is "very high".

    It comes as restaurants and pubs that serve food were allowed to reopen here yesterday.

    Taoiseach Micheal Martin says he believes people will stick to the guidelines over Christmas.

  • Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said Covid-19 vaccines will be free to people across the country, as Ireland prepares to start vaccinations next month.

    Speaking at a meeting of the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party last night, the Taoiseach said vaccines would be rolled out in a sequence with healthcare workers, the elderly and nursing homes receiving them as as a priority.

    It is expected that Covid-19 vaccines will be rolled out in Ireland and Europe from next month, with European regulators expected to decide on one application for approval “within weeks” and another shortly afterwards.

    Mr Martin said last night as many as 10 vaccines could ultimately be available to Ireland as "part of the EU consortium".

  • The Taoiseach has confirmed the Government will take no action against Supreme Court Judge Seamus Woulfe.

    The Cabinet has decided not to pursue articles of impeachment against Justice Woulfe over his attendance at the Golfgate dinner in Clifden in August.

    Opposition parties are demanding Justice Minister Helen McEntee come before the Dáil to address the issue of the appointment of Mr Justice Woulfe by cabinet.

    The Government is resisting - and Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said they won't be seeking to take any action against the Supreme Court Judge:

  • The Taoiseach has said he wants the country to go back to level three at the start of December.

    But Micheál Martin says he will look at certain sectors that may be given individual licence to open.

    This could include bars and restaurants which would be outdoor dining only under level three.

    Taoiseach Micheál Martin says they want to progress some opening of the economy in December.

  • The Taoiseach says a second lockdown "may not be a short one" if it's brought in to control the spread of Covid 19.

    Michael Martin hasn't ruled out moving the country to Level 4 restrictions in the coming week - but says it'd be "very severe and create a lot of damage".

    Earlier, Tanaiste Leo Varadkar suggested a short, hard lockdown - known as a circuit breaker - "may well be needed" in response to the rising number of cases.

    Taoiseach Michael Martin hopes a move to Level 4 can be avoided.

  • The country is set to move back to level 3 restrictions from next week, but the Taoiseach has cast doubt over large gatherings involving alcohol.

    The Cabinet remain at odds over whether pubs and restaurants should fully reopen ahead of the busy Christmas period, and final decisions around the easing of these restrictions are not expected to be hammered out until Thursday

    Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said shops will reopen from December 1.

    He said the Government will be "flexible" in terms of guidance that they will give families, particularly on Christmas week itself, but cautioned that "individual behaviour" and "our own collective behaviour is going to be critical" on how we get through the festive season.

    Clear divisions are emerging within Government over the level of restrictions that should be implemented in the coming weeks, with some ministers arguing that so-called wet pubs should stay shut. 

    However, others believe that if restaurants are allowed to serve customers indoors, then all other establishments should also be permitted to reopen.

    Mr Martin also said the rollout of an effective vaccine in the first half of 2021 would spark a "rebound for the economy".

  • The Taoiseach says the Covid-19 situation over the next ten days is "critical" for a number of counties.

    Cases are rising in a number of areas - and people are being urged to reduce the amount of people they socialise with.

    The warning comes are three counties have Covid-19 14-day incidence rates of more than 100 - Dublin, Donegal and Louth.

    Roscommon's 14-day incidence rate has been rising for 12 days and the county now  has 57 cases per 100,000 people per fortnight, while Leitrim's rate has been falling for the last 6 days and is now at 34.3, while Mayo's 14-day incidence rate is 29.9.

    The counties with the lowest incidence rates are now Kerry, Sligo and Tipperary.

    The National Public Health Emergency Team is meeting today to discuss if more counties should be moved to Level 3 of restrictions alongside Dublin.

  • Taoiseach Micheál Martin says the government is giving "very active consideration" to moving the country to level five restrictions.

    NPHET has recommended a six week lockdown of the country to combat the increasing spread of the virus.

    The leaders of the three government parties will meet tomorrow with the Ministers for Health, Finance and Public Expenditure to discuss whether or not to accept the recommendation.

    Speaking in Brussels this afternoon Taoiseach Micheál Martin didn't put a timeline on when a decision can be expected.

  • The new UK variant of Covid-19 has been found in nearly half of the most recent cases examined here.

    Last week, the strain - which can spread much easier - was detected in 25 per cent of samples tested, but accounted for 45% of the most recent 92 samples that underwent additional testing.

    Taoiseach Michael Martin says the update from the Chief Medical Officer shows the variant is becoming a real issue:

     

  • The Taosieach says the Oireachtas golf society event potentially undermines the public health message.

    It comes after Agriculture Minister Dara Calleary resigned after he attended an event that breached Covid 19 guidelines, in a hotel in Galway on Wednesday.

    Micheal Martin also called on EU Commissioner Phil Hogan to apologise for attending the gathering.

    Speaking to RTE this evening, the Taoiseach said he was annoyed and upset by the controversy.

  • The Taoiseach says Phil Hogan has undermined public health guidelines and the changing narrative in his story has been a challenge.

    The future of the under-pressure Commissioner hangs in the balance following the Golfgate controversy that erupted after he attended a golf dinner in Clifden last week.

    Taoiseach Micheál Martin wouldn't be drawn this evening on whether or not Phil Hogan should resign.

    But he admits there have been difficulties with his account of what happened.

     

    Phil Hogan yesterday published details of his recent trip to Ireland, which included playing in the Oireachtas golf society tournament in Connemara, and attending a dinner afterwards in Clifden.

    However, that account failed to mention a social visit he made to Co Roscommon en route to Clifden last week.

    This morning, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said the Government has lost confidence in Commissioner Hogan, as he had breached public health advice.

    The EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will now decide the fate of Phil Hogan.  

  • The Taoiseach has agreed to meet with management from Ireland West Airport Knock in the coming days to discuss the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

    The Mayo airport is to close next week for a month, as a result of Ryanair suspending operations from all regional airports for a 4-week period before Christmas.

    Passenger numbers have plummeted at the airport this year, and losses are mounting.

    Mayo Fianna Fail TD Dara Calleary told Midwest News that Taoiseach Mícheal Martin is aware of the importance of the airport to this region, and has agreed to meet management in the coming days to discuss what assistance might be forthcoming..