Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

08.58 31 Mar 2021


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Irish society should be 'starting to get back to normality' by the summer, the Housing Minister has said.

Darragh O'Brien says people will be able to 'get back their lives and their jobs' in the coming months.

He was speaking after the Government announced a cautious easing of COVID-19 restrictions for April.

The focus will initially be on outdoor activities, with a phased series of measures coming into effect throughout the month.

Depending on the situation at the end of April, the Government will then look at allowing the likes of non-essential retail and hairdressers reopen in May.

On Newstalk Breakfast, Minister O'Brien said there's now a clear path out of lockdown.

O'Brien: 'By the summer, we should be starting to get back to normality'

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He said: “Our big focus is that people will see there is a pathway forward.

"By the summer, we should be starting to get back to normality - so people can get back their lives and their jobs."

The Housing Minister said there'll be a "very sharp" increase in COVID-19 vaccine supplies from as early as next week.

He said: "[We] will be averaging about a million doses a month.

"We’re going to be vaccinating more people in April, pretty much, than we have done so far."

Vaccine changes

Minister O'Brien defended the major overhaul of the vaccination rollout, insisting there was a need to simplify it.

He said the new age-based approach is the 'very best way forward'.

In terms of his own portfolio, the Housing Minister said the April plans 'really focus' on home-building.

Residential construction and renovations will be able to resume from April 12th.

Minister O'Brien said: “We do have a housing crisis we have to deal with, and that’s been exacerbated by the pandemic.

“The sector has been safe - they’ve operated very safely. What [the restrictions are] still about is the movement of people.”

He added that the Government will be hoping to open the entirety of the construction sector from May 4th.

Main image: File photo of Darragh O'Brien. Photograph: Leon Farrell / RollingNews.ie

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