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Tax hikes ruled out to pay for coronavirus bill

Varadkar 'optimistic' on May wind-down Latest figures: 839 new cases, 33 deaths

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Leo Varadkar. Picture: Frank McGrath

Leo Varadkar. Picture: Frank McGrath

Dr Ger O'Connor on the front line in the Mater Hospital.

Dr Ger O'Connor on the front line in the Mater Hospital.

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Leo Varadkar. Picture: Frank McGrath

As pressure continues to mount on hospitals now treating more than 800 confirmed cases of Covid-19, and with additional emergency services to be drafted in to assist intensive care units this week, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said that he is strongly opposed to income tax increases or welfare cuts as measures to pay for the enormous cost of fighting the coronavirus.

In an exclusive interview with the Sunday Independent, Mr Varadkar said: "One thing that I'm absolutely sure of, something that we definitely don't need in the next couple of years, is pay cuts - or welfare cuts or increases in income tax."

Stating he was optimistic Ireland would start to unwind restrictions in May and into the summer, Mr Varadkar also admitted that in due course it would be established that mistakes had been made in the effort to protect the elderly in nursing homes. "We'll find that we got some things right and we got some things wrong," he said.