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Taoiseach says death cannot ‘become a measure’ as the worst of the pandemic ‘may very well be’ yet before us

TAOISEACH Micheál Martin said death cannot “become a measure” and that preventing serious illness is always the top priority as the worst of the pandemic “may very well be” still ahead of us.

The boss of Fianna Fáil said that “it is never wishful thinking” to hope that the Omicron variant will not be as devastating as expected and “there is no fatality”.

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The Taoiseach addressed the nation last nightCredit: JULIEN BEHAL
New restrictions will be in place for Christmas

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New restrictions will be in place for ChristmasCredit: Reuters

It comes as tens of thousands of people could lose their jobs just days before Christmas after the government imposed an 8 p.m. curfew on pubs, restaurants, cinemas and concerts from Monday to January 30 in less.

Outdoor events, such as horse racing festivals and rugby matches, which are due to take place during the holidays have also been cut in half as the government seeks to drastically reduce socialization in an effort to slow down the new strain.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Brendan O’Connor show, Micheál Martin said the latest Covid-19 restrictions will be constantly reviewed as the Omicron variant spreads across the country.

When asked if he thinks the worst of the pandemic is yet ahead of us, he replied: “It could very well be. Certainly, it is this question of severity that is unknown and the data is not all. just not there. “

He said two years later “death has become a measure” and preventing it should be the top priority.

Martin said: “I have noticed that the language of what we are almost tolerating now has slipped and these are very difficult questions, but for me it is still about preventing death and preventing serious illness.”

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He said the tragic loss of two of his children Ruairí and Léana changed him as a person.

The Taoiseach said: “I think when Ruairí died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in the first year there was a lot of anxiety after that. Your certainties are a bit removed from life.

“You are full of optimism as a young person, something like that hits you, life is no longer full of those certainties and it makes you a more anxious parent but you have to try to face it, you live with that.

“The people who came to our aid or gathered around us when Léana passed away, the family members were fantastic. The people around us were fantastic and they took us through what was a terrible trauma in the loss of Léana and Ruairí and people got hold of us through that.

“We all have personal experiences in life, it makes sense, I think, of the end when death occurs in a family, the devastation that occurs in a family.

“At any age when a person dies it’s a huge void in the family and in many ways that’s what Christmas is, family coming together again.”

BELIEVING IN ANTIGEN TEST

He also said antigen testing should be done more systematically and that he was an “early believer” in testing despite opposition from NPHET.

He said: “They’ve had a real problem with this for too long in my opinion and we had a disagreement about it and I was an older supporter of antigen testing.

“Public health has estimated that it might be more damaging for people to think they are free and clear if they get a clear antigen test, but a positive antigen test is a very positive thing.”

However, although he advocated for a “culture of antigen testing”, he refused to subsidize the tests and said “I am not in favor of freely distributing them widely.”

About 100,000 antigen tests are currently distributed free of charge for close contacts.

Mr Martin said it will take time to understand the full impact of the Omicron variant and the government is eager to see how the situation evolves.

He said: “Real damage will have to be done if we don’t intervene.

“The combination of behavior and boosters will be important in reducing the impact of this. That is the goal and that is why we are acting early.”

The hospitality sector has been hit again

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The hospitality sector has been hit againCredit: Reuters
CMO Says “Hope” Is Omicron Less Severe Than Other Variants