The government has this evening (Friday 1 May) published a Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business to ease the COVID 19 restrictions and reopen Ireland’s economy and society in a phased manner.
The Roadmap will start from 18 May, from which point our country will re-open in a slow, phased way. The plan sets out five stages for unlocking restrictions, at three week intervals. As we ease restrictions, the rate of the virus in the community will be constantly monitored by the National Public Health Emergency Team and the government.
The framework sets out how we can keep the level of transmission as low as possible while balancing continuing restrictions proportionately with the positive social and economic benefits which will be brought about by lifting restrictions.
In the meantime, we are extending the distance you can leave your home, so from next Tuesday it will be possible to go up to 5km for the purposes of exercise. People who are cocooning need to continue to do so, however it will be possible from Tuesday to go outside for exercise and fresh air, as with others in society, provided you keep within 5 km of your home and observe social distancing at all times.
There are 5 phases in the Roadmap to ease restrictions. Each phase consists of a menu of options will be considered by Government as it gradually opens up economic and social activities.
Examples of the types of actions which will be considered under the various phases include:
Phase 1 (18 May):
allow outdoor meetings between people from different households
open up childcare for healthcare workers
phased return of outdoor workers
open retailers which are primarily outdoor or those which were open during first level of restriction (e.g. opticians)
opening of certain outdoor public amenities
Phase 2 (08 June):
allow visits to households
develop plans and supports to open up business with consideration for safety of staff and customers
open small retail outlets and marts where social distancing can be observed
open public libraries
Phase 3 (29 June):
allow small social gatherings
opening of crèches, childminders and pre-schools for children of essential workers in phased manner
return to work for those with low levels of interaction
open non-essential retail outlets with street level entrance and exit
Phase 4 (20 July):
opening of crèches, childminders and pre-schools for children of all other workers on a gradually increasing basis
return to work for those who cannot work from home
gradual easing of restrictions for higher risk services (e.g. Hairdressers)
opening of museums, galleries, places of worship
Phase 5 (10 August):
allow larger social gatherings
return to work across all sectors
on a phased basis, commencing at the beginning of the academic year 2020/2021, opening of primary and secondary schools and 3rd level institutions
further easing of restrictions on high risk retail services
The Roadmap also sets out a framework for future decision making, which will at all times be underpinned by public health advice.
The government will regularly assess the following criteria as we seek to keep the level of transmission low while gradually restarting our economy:
the latest data regarding the progression of the disease
the capacity of the health service
the capacity of the testing and tracing system
the measures in place to protect vulnerable groups
an assessment of the impact of excess morbidity and mortality as a consequence of the restrictions
The COVID-19 emergency has had an unprecedented impact on our economy, as well as our society. As we begin the phased reopening of our economy, businesses will require additional supports.
Many businesses will not simply be able to pick up where they left off. The government will meet again tomorrow (Saturday 2 May) to agree a further package of measures to help our businesses to restart, reconnect and rehire staff who have been laid off or furloughed.
Separately, a National Protocol to protect the health and safety of workers is being developed by Government, employers and trade unions, with the assistance of the Health and Safety Authority and the HSE.
The risk of a second wave of the virus is ever present. As a country, we can only move from one phase to the next if the virus stays under control between each phase. There will be a long-term need for physical distancing, for good hand hygiene, for respiratory hygiene, regular cleaning and for people to stay at home and isolate if they are sick.
However, the government is very conscious that that there are significant consequences of social distancing measures. The normal structures of daily life – work, school, sport, entertainment – have temporarily ceased to exist and even as we re-open society, we will be living our daily lives in modified ways for as long as we live with this pandemic.
We recognise that as we seek to mitigate the risks of transmission of COVID-19 through social distancing restrictions, we are creating other challenges for individuals, families and communities. Some of these challenges are manageable in the very short term but as restrictions continue, the impact becomes greater for some groups.
In living with restrictions, the government will take account of these balancing impacts and the particular consequences for more vulnerable groups in our society.
The areas where social-distancing causes most concern include:
non-COVID-19-related health delays
wellbeing and mental health
vulnerable groups for whom home is not a safe place
minorities and other groups disproportionately impacted by the restrictions
risk-taking behaviour and offending
crime and policing and access to justice
Government departments and agencies have been working to modify work practices, modes of delivery to meet with these challenges and this work will have to continue.
It is acknowledged that additional measures have to be taken to reach out to more vulnerable groups and those that are particular affected by the guidance on cocooning and social distancing.
Some of these measures are already underway, through various cross-government efforts such as the Community Call, In This Together and Still Here initiatives and campaigns.
The Roadmap also acknowledges the need to continue to work intensively on our approach to travel restrictions and controls at ports and airports and our co-operation with Northern Ireland , the UK and our EU partners.
For more information:
For the government of this country to celebrate the memory and the actions of RIC and DMP officers who implemented martial law in Ireland and attempted to suppress the Irish Freedom Movement as authorised by the First Dáil of Ireland in 1919 is quite frankly both egregious and outrageous.
I will not be attending any such commemoration and make no apologies for it.
By attending such a commemoration, I would be directly dishonouring my great grandfather and great-grandmother, Michael & Margaret Healy of Upperchurch.
During the Fenian Rebellion of 1867, my great grandfather Michael Healy was convicted, along with his brother-in-law Thomas Whelan and many neighbours, for their part in the burning of Roskeen RIC Barracks. My great grandmother Margaret Healy, (nee Whelan of Shefferoy) along with other women walked the 30 miles to Nenagh and back each week to bring them provisions while they were jailed there.
Therefore, I will certainly not be participating in any such commemoration on behalf of my family and neither will I be doing so as the elected representative of muintir Tiobraid Árainn to the 32nd Dáil Éireann.
This commemoration must be seen for what it is: A deliberate attempt to redraw and rewrite the history of the Irish people and the birth of the Irish state and it must be resisted.
To participate in this sham commemoration is to support the blatant political revisionism behind it.
The political parties of the Ireland of today would have a different version of Irish history taught in Irish schools to Irish children; one that is more palatable to their conservatism but one that does not reflect the truth of the Irish Freedom Movement or the full-bodied sentiment and intellectual rigour of the Irish patriots, men and women, who were behind it.
Unbelievably, it puts our oppressors, the RIC, the DMP, the Tans and the Auxiliaries in the same category as those who died for the creation of the Republic.
Dr. Brian Murphy, OSB, Glenstal has rightly criticised Minister Flanagan for representing the RIC as a normal police force carrying out normal police duties. But the RIC were no “guardians of peace”. The RIC was in fact an armed, para-military, highly politicised force, implementing martial law to defeat the outcome of the 1918 election. It is very difficult to accept that in the Ireland of 2020, a mere one hundred years after the War of Independence, that the RIC, who were described in the Westminster Parliament in 1919 as a “semi-military organisation” who as such could not join the National Union of Police Officers is to be commemorated by any Irish government.
Leaving the cause of Irish freedom aside, neither were they the guardians of the Irish workers. The Dublin Metropolitan Police, also to be feted by the blue-shirt Irish government of today, baton charged worker’s rallies and in August 1913, caused the deaths of two workers, James Nolan and John Byrne by doing so. Over 300 more were injured.
Thinking Irish people must ask themselves; why are such people to be commemorated?
The Fine Gael-Independent Alliance government of the 32nd Dáil want to reframe the War of Independence as a war between two equal and legitimate powers. They want to reframe the War of Independence to focus on the atrocities of war committed on both sides. They want us to equally weigh the might of the colonial British empire against the Irish pillars and columns and safe-houses. They want to rewrite the revolution out of our story so that we might begin to believe that we are a conciliatory people.
But when the might of the British empire reigned down upon Ireland, Irish people did not merely “roll over”. We fought back and none more so than the people of Tipperary. We stuck it to the British empire and in doing so lit a flame that burned so bright it could be seen as far away as colonial India.
I call on all Tipperary people and other invitees to boycott this ceremony prepared by our government to commemorate our oppressors.
To do otherwise would be to dishonour our patriots who fought and died for the Irish people in the War of Independence, those pioneers of freedom who inspired a nation and the world.
-Seamus Healy T.D.