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Cabinet to meet later to finalise lifting of level 5 restrictions

Kilkenny's cases jumped by 29 last evening with Carlow again recording up to four more

Restaurants and gastro pubs are set to open in December despite NPHET advice.

Cabinet Ministers will meet this afternoon to finalise the approach to be taken over the coming weeks.

After an almost five hour meeting yesterday the coalition party leaders and a number of senior Ministers have decided to go against NPHET advice and open restaurants and gastro pubs next month.

The trade off though will be stricter rules on household gatherings around Christmas.

NPHET had recommended restaurants and pubs be take-away only, but they will be allowed to open sometime in the next two weeks.

Retail and other services like hairdressers, barbers and gyms will have the green light to open next week.

But pubs that only serve drink are likely to stay closed.

NPHET had recommended either re-opening hospitality or strict rules on household gatherings.

Instead the approach put to Ministers later will be a bit of both, but with fewer people able to visit a household in the week of Christmas than planned.

The instruction to stay within your county is also going to stay in place until the 18th of December at least – after which there will be a window when travel across the country for Christmas will be allowed.

A lobby group for bar owners says if restaurants open up again before pubs, that will be down to politics and not public health.

Donall O’Keeffe, Chief Executive of the Licenced Vintners’ Association, says all hospitality should be allowed back open — or none at all.


Three additional deaths and 335 new cases of the virus were confirmed last evening.

29 of these are in Kilkenny, which now holds the country’s fifth highest incidence rate for the past fortnight. At 131, it’s higher than the national figure of 103.9.

While Carlow saw up to four more detections last evening, leaving it in the bottom ten with a rate of 77.3.

Two areas of Donegal have a Covid-19 incidence rate of almost three times the national average.

Latest data from the Health Protection Surveillence centre shows the Milford Electoral area has the highest infection rates in the country.

In the four most northerly electoral areas in the country – Carndonagh, Letterkenny, Milford and Buncrana – all have a 14-day incidence rate of more than 265.

Two of those areas are followed by another constituency along the border by having the highest rates – Dundalk South with a rate of 299.

Edenderry in Offaly also continues to have a high incidence rate of more than 250.

In terms of urban areas Waterford City South has the highest infection in the two weeks up until Monday with 284 cases per 100,000 people.

In Limerick, the City West constituency is on 243.

However, every other city has lower rates with the highest in Galway being the City Central area on 221.

In Cork, the South Central constituency has a rate of 199.

And in Dublin – Ballymun Finglas had the highest and is on 192 cases per 100,000 people.

In total eight local areas have rates of less than five – including three areas in Mayo.

Carrickmacross – Castleblaney in Monaghan, Ballinasloe in Galway, Mhuinebeag in Carlow, as well as the Carlow electoral area and Bantry West in Cork all had less than five cases per 100,000 people in the past two weeks.


Northern Ireland’s First Minister says there isn’t enough co-operation on the island, as two more weeks of lockdown begins there.

Hairdressers and cafes are shut once again in the North after being allowed to trade for a week.

Arlene Foster says it’s “regrettable” the Tánaiste suggested a ban on cross-border travel for Christmas.

Last weekend the four UK jurisdictions agreed to try and align their Christmas lockdown plans and allow travel between them.

Ms Foster said last night they’re hoping to include the Republic in those plans too.

Meanwhile, the UK Prime Minister’s urged people to use their common sense and do the right thing over Christmas.

Up to three households there will be allowed to join together as one bubble between the 23rd and 27th of December.

Until then, 99 percent of the population will be banned from mixing indoors under the country’s tier system.

Boris Johnson’s warned the virus is still a threat.