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Government under pressure from business groups and parents to set out plans for lifting restrictions

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Leo Varadkar said there is no roadmap for lifting restrictions. Photo: Julien Behal

Leo Varadkar said there is no roadmap for lifting restrictions. Photo: Julien Behal

Leo Varadkar said there is no roadmap for lifting restrictions. Photo: Julien Behal

Business groups and parents of secondary school children have called on the Government to set out how it plans to ease the extraordinary restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus crisis.

Other European countries have begun telling their citizens how they plan to phase out lockdowns.

In contrast, the Government here has yet to provide information on how the restrictions on everyday life will eventually be lifted.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said such planning is taking place here by the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) and others. But he said there is "no roadmap" for how to do this and the Government will be taking advice and looking at what other countries are doing.

Some countries have set out plans for restarting non-essential industry and construction, while others are planning to reopen schools with staggered timetables and split classes to allow for social distancing.

CEO of business representative group IBEC, Danny McCoy said any preparations on easing restrictions must focus on "the how before the question of the when".

"Public health measures naturally remain the absolute imperative. When it is deemed safe by the relevant authorities to begin gradually easing containment measures, any roadmap from Government need not only provide expected timelines, but crucially must detail the means by which they plan to reboot the economy and begin the recovery," he said.

He added that business and other stakeholders must be consulted in doing this.

Adrian Cummins, CEO of the Restaurants Association of Ireland - one of the worst-hit industries - said of the ongoing crisis: "We know there's light at the end of the tunnel, but we don't know how long the tunnel is.

"The Government needs to set out a clearly defined rebooting and reopening of our industry."

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Mr Cummins also said his organisation was "1,000pc" behind the advice of chief medical officer Tony Holohan and the NPHET.

"The last thing we want to see is a rushed reopening that damages our recovery from the medical crisis and extends the economic shutdown we have at the moment," he said.

A spokesman for the National Parents Council Post Primary called on the Government to provide certainty on its plans for the Leaving Cert.

He said the organisation is being inundated with calls from parents of Leaving Cert students worried about when the exams will take place.

"The problem is that one word, uncertainty. Nobody knows what's happening.

"If the Government said the Leaving Cert will take place on week three and four of June that would be certainty."

Speaking last night, Dr Holohan said he doesn't expect restrictions to be changed this weekend.

He said he wants to see a planned relaxation of restrictions and not a "haphazard and ad-hoc" process. He said the disease is not at the same phase in European countries and expects to see variation in how restrictions are eased.

Visit our Covid-19 vaccine dashboard for updates on the roll out of the vaccination program and the rate of Coronavirus cases Ireland


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