We need to 'win the hearts and minds' of young people in the fight against coronavirus rather than just condemning them, the head of the HSE has said.
Paul Reid was speaking after footage emerged of groups of young people dancing and singing on the streets of Killarney over the weekend.
Local councillors in Co Kerry criticised the scenes as 'irresponsible'.
Speaking to Ciara Kelly on Newstalk Breakfast, Mr Reid said what happened in Killarney was 'unfortunate' - but there's a need to communicate better with young people rather than just condemning them.
He said: "You see an emergence of young people being blamed and targeted, and they've suffered quite a lot throughout all this.
"We really have to redouble our efforts to communicate with younger people and win their hearts and minds, not just condemn them for various actions."
Mr Reid said there's a need to bring everyone into the winter with a sense of hope and confidence.
He said there are already "significant plans" in place as the autumn and winter seasons approach, which will help them deliver services "in a very new way".
'Hope and confidence'
On the prospect of a second lockdown if the COVID-19 cases increase, Mr Reid said he's always been very consistent that the health service needs a functioning economy, society and school system to work properly.
He observed: "The impacts of lockdown on hospital system and health services are massive and very significant... we've seen already what happened in the first phase.
"We need to give people hope and confidence, and not fear. I think there's a lot of reason for hope and confidence.
"We've learned much about this virus - how it transmits; where it transmits; how to protect vulnerable people better; how to treat people in our hospital system when it emerges."
Mr Reid noted that the mean turnaround time for COVID-19 testing is now 2.2 days, with over 57,000 tests completed over the past seven days.
He said there is capacity available to carry out 100,000 tests per week - but stressed that some of that capacity needs to be kept to deal with clusters when they arise.