The Government hopes all construction projects will resume in May as “key milestones are being met” in reducing the spread of Covid-19, the Taoiseach has said.
Micheál Martin said “steps to reopen have been moving ahead while we have also been reducing the spread of the virus”.
Speaking at the Fianna Fáil annual 1916 Arbour Hill commemoration, Mr Martin said: “We will review progress in the days ahead and set out the steps which we can implement in May.
“We will look to get all construction activity reopened. We understand the major impact felt by small business and want to see a return of more retail and commercial activity and personal services.”
He added: “We have begun the gradual steps of lifting some restrictions. And if we can maintain control of the virus we will go as fast as possible in lifting more.”
The first phases of the vaccination programme are already saving lives and reducing the spread of the virus, while the national registration system has allowed thousands to book appointments every day, he said.
“As the committed supplies are delivered we will radically alter our possibilities.”
But he hit out at “spin” as he said the focus had to be “solely on the challenges of Government.”
“Now is not the time for politics as usual. Now is not the time for the game’s others like of looking to spin everything – or attacking everything.”
Mr Martin was speaking after a week of intense controversy over the vaccination programme, the status of the AstraZeneca vaccine, the priority list for vaccination and mandatory hotel quarantining.
Mr Martin said “in opposition we insisted on being constructive and we have done the same in Government.
“I know that this can sometimes frustrate people - but as Lemass once said, it is the unique role of Fianna Fáil to be practical patriots. We will not win every fight but we will stand by a record of practical and positive action for the Irish people.”