The lockdown restrictions have been extended for a further three weeks to combat the spread of Covid-19, the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has announced this afternoon.
Mr Varadkar said the lockdown would go on until May 5 at least with everyone asked to remain within a 2km radius of their homes and only leave their home for brief exercise, to buy food, medicine or to care for vulnerable or elderly family members, among other stipulated conditions.
Speaking about the restrictions, the Taoiseach quoted Seamus Heaney and thanked the public for their assistance to date.
“The fine weather makes that harder, we all want to go outside, we all want to be with family, we all want to see the mountains and the sea, we want to feel that we can go anywhere, we want to be free.
“I know it is very difficult, but every sacrifice that we make is helping to save lives.”
Mr Varadkar said due to the high level of compliance the spread of the virus has been interrupted but said that more had to be done.
“We cannot be complacent and we cannot lose focus. What we are doing is making a difference and we have to keep going, We need to persevere and maintain our discipline and resolve.”
The Taoiseach said he was aware people wanted to know when things would go back to normal and said at the moment no one knew when that would be.
“We are working towards that time and we are planning carefully so we get there safely. The truth is no one knows for certain when that will be… all we can do is take one day at a time. To think of others and to chose hope and solidarity over self-interest and fear.
“Your decisions will safe lives so I am calling on everyone to do what is asked of them to be tolerant and compassionate to think about each other before we think about ourselves, nothing greater will be asked of any of us.”
Mr Varadkar closed his speech by saying: "Stay strong, stay safe, stay home."