Covid: Micheál Martin indicates ‘nervousness’ over autumn and winter

There will continue to be a “nervousness” about autumn and winter with a seasonality attached to Covid-19, Micheál Martin has said.

The Taoiseach made the comment as he said it was likely that spectators would return to sporting events in Ireland this year.

Once restrictions are eased and sectors reopen the Government wants to ensure they remain open, Mr Martin said.

“I can see spectators coming back at some stage, in what numbers I’m not precise about,” Mr Martin told Newstalk FM’s The Hard Shoulder programme.

“I think vaccination has to happen to a very significant degree and there will be a valuation of the vaccination programme.”

His comments come as Dublin was stood down as a host city for the delayed Euro 2020 tournament due to Ireland’s public health restrictions.


The capital’s games have been moved to Russia and London because Irish authorities had been unable to provide minimum capacity assurances to Uefa.

Mr Martin said: “What I can see happening is gradually we can open up sectors. But once we open up sectors we want them to stay open.

“We want to make decisions that are long-lasting. Not short term, start, stop, close down again. That really is soul-destroying for many people in different sectors.”

He added: “We need to tread with a bit of caution through the winter but I do think we can open up over time. We need to do it cautiously.”

‘Trickiest moment’

Earlier, a senior Government official warned Ireland is facing its “trickiest moment” as it begins to ease Covid-19 public health restrictions.

Liz Canavan, assistant secretary general at the Department of the Taoiseach, said people can afford to be “cautiously optimistic” but they need to “stay vigilant”.

“We need a bit more time to ensure that those who are most vulnerable are vaccinated and a higher proportion of the broader population is vaccinated,” Ms Canavan said.

Friday saw the Department of Health confirm one further death linked to Covid-19 and 434 new cases of the virus.


Ireland’s 14-day incidence rate per 100,000 population now stands at 117. The five-day moving average is 448.

On Friday morning, there were 166 people with Covid-19 in hospital, 48 of whom were in intensive care.

According to the latest HSE figures, a total of 1,275,828 doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been administered in Ireland up to Friday.

Some 23 per cent of the population has received one dose, while almost 10 per cent have received two doses.

As of Friday, people aged 64 are being urged to register to receive the vaccine through the HSE’s online portal.

Registration will be available for people aged between 63 and 60 over the coming days.

To date more than 165,000 people between 64 and 69 years have registered for the jab through the portal.