The Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said the peak of the coronavirus has yet to hit here.
In his Easter message on Twitter, Mr Varadkar thanked everyone involved for slowing the spread of the virus.
But he warned: "We cannot lose focus, we cannot lessen our efforts - in fact we need to redouble them in the next few weeks".
"It's more important than ever that we persevere."
On the virus peak, he said: "It's possible that we haven't seen the peak yet - and when it comes, perhaps later this month, we will experience some of our darkest days.
"So we need to maintain our disciple and resolve in the knowledge that better days are to come".
Your actions are making a difference. The spread of the virus is slowing. It’s more important than ever that we persevere. Taking what we have learned we will build a better society at the end of this — a great society for a great people. Happy Easter. pic.twitter.com/elLd4XKc9O
— Leo Varadkar (@LeoVaradkar) April 12, 2020
Earlier he said he was "optimistic" that coronavirus restrictions can start to be eased in May.
He told the Sunday Independent that health officials are drawing up plans to release them in stages.
But he said there is a risk they could have to be re-introduced, if the virus starts spreading again.
Mr Varadkar said: "Because the curve is flattening - it hasn't flattened enough yet - but because the curve is flattening I am certainly hopeful and optimistic that we'll be able to start to under-wind the restrictions starting in May and throughout the course of the summer.
"Now I can't guarantee that.
"Our best guess is that we're not yet past the peak, but we will peak sometime in April - around the middle of April.
"And after that we may see the number of new cases falling off".
It comes as Ireland saw a record high of new cases on Saturday.
The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) said there were 553 new confirmed cases reported by Irish laboratories, and an additional 286 cases reported by a laboratory in Germany.
This means there were a total of 839 new COVID-19 cases in Ireland on Saturday.
With the German figures included, there is now an overall total of 8,928 confirmed cases here.
Mr Varadkar was speaking just days after restrictions were extended up until May 5th - a three week extension.
The restrictions were initially meant to last until this Sunday, April 12th.
However, the Government said the rules were being extended as health officials continue to work to drive down the number of COVID-19 cases here.
The restrictions include the closure of non-essential businesses and everyone being asked to stay at home wherever possible.
While Garda enforcement powers, brought in to help slow the spread of the virus, will also continue for as long as restrictions are in place.