Covid: Ireland sets one of the strictest lockdowns in Europe in bid to enjoy 'normal' Christmas

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Geraint Vincent

As of midnight on Wednesday, Ireland's lockdown will be one of the strictest in Europe in a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19.

The Irish government agreed on Monday to impose the highest level of restrictions under its five-tiered plan for living with the virus, which will last for six weeks.

In doing so, the country has adopted one of the strictest lockdowns on the continent.

There are fears that businesses preparing to close their doors for the next month and a half may not be able reopen them.

Olga Gilliland is concerned her business may not open in 2021.

It is hoped that they will be able to return to some normality in time for Christmas, but for Olga Gilliland of Travers Holiday Park in the year-round holiday resort of Bundoran, the concern is they won't be able to reopen next year.

"Next few weekends for us we were fully booked, especially for the bank holiday coming up and Halloween break we were fully booked with children being off school," she told ITV News.

"From midnight tonight that's our season over. we won't be opening our gates again until February or March 2021, our big concern at the minute is will we open in 2021 or are we going to face a third lockdown when this one's over."

Irish PM Michael Martin said Omicron 'spreads aggressively' among all age groups. Credit: Justin Farrelly/PA

The country’s premier Micheal Martin described the move to level 5 restrictions as “very, very serious”.

He said the government cannot stop the virus on its own.

“There are no laws or powers that can change the nature of this virus,” he said earlier this week.

“Many people have done everything that has been asked of them. But some have not. As Taoiseach I am asking everyone again to take this threat seriously.”

Restrictions will last until December 1.

Under the restrictions:

  • Pubs, restaurants and cafes will only provide takeaways and deliveries.

  • Public will be asked to work from home, except for essential workers .

  • People will have to restrict movement to 5km of their homes .

  • No social or family gatherings in homes or gardens .

  • Non-essential retail, hairdressers, barbers and salons will close .

  • Funerals will be limited to 10 people .

  • Weddings will be limited to 25 people .

  • Schools and creches will remain open .

  • Elite level sports can continue .

  • Construction will be allowed to continue.