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Cabinet may meet to approve easing of restrictions on Friday

The Cabinet may meet as early as Friday to approve the lifting of Covid restrictions, which could begin next week.

While no meeting has been formally scheduled yet, it is understood that arrangements will be put in place quickly if advice from the National Public Health Emergency Team (Nphet) on Thursday is favourable to a quick reopening, The Irish Times reports.

The Cabinet's weekly meeting takes place tomorrow while Nphet will meet on Thursday to consider the latest modelling, hospital situation and current restrictions.

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If the advice that comes from this meeting is favourable, Cabinet could make a decision on Friday to begin the easing of restrictions from next week.

In that event, an address from Taoiseach MicheΓ‘l Martin would follow on Friday evening.

According to The Irish Times, the easing of restrictions is likely to occur on a phased basis with hospitality opening hours extended from next week, with the possibility of cultural and sporting events being expanded from February.

The restrictions were initially scheduled to be lifted from the beginning of next month, but there is growing momentum in Government to bring this forward if the Covid situation continues to improve.

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Public health officials believe the peak of the Omicron wave has passed, and while hospitals remain busy, the situation is manageable.

Mr Martin and TΓ‘naiste Leo Varadkar have spoken positively about the prospect of reopening in recent days.

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