AN TAOISEACH Micheál Martin says that the new Covid-19 restrictions announced today will ‘save lives’.
Martin spoke to the nation in a lunchtime address from Government buildings, where he sad that the ‘number one priority is to protect public health and for that reason the government has agreed to move quickly’.
“A lot of people will be receiving today’s news with a heavy heart,” Martin said.
“I know that I bring it to you with one. Each and every one of us need to remember that, while it may not seem like it, what we have done to date, and what we are doing now doing now is saving lives.
“Because of the sacrifices that so many are making, because of the restrictions we are accepting in our lives, many many people are alive today who would otherwise not be.
Restaurants and pubs that serve food will be asked to close at 3pm on Christmas Eve, hotels will close to non-essential bookings after December 26 and inter-county travel will be banned after St Stephen’s Day.
Martin said: “I know these restrictions will pose huge challenges for some sectors of the economy, but I want to reassure them that extra financial supports will be provided.
“This year, the way to show our love and respect for others is to act responsibly to comply with the guidelines and to limit the spread of the virus.
“If it is left to spread unchecked, it will reach the most vulnerable and they will pay a heavy price.
“Unfortunately, in the last week we have seen extraordinary growth in the spread of the virus. It’s simply not sustainable.”