FREEDOM DAY in Ireland is now in serious jeopardy as Covid-19 case numbers continue to spike across the country.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin last night refused to guarantee that the planned easing of restrictions will go ahead on October 22.
His comments followed an ominous briefing from National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) officials who warned that the path of the pandemic had become increasingly precarious.
Speaking to reporters outside Government Buildings on Wednesday, Martin revealed the battle against Covid has recently "taken a wrong turn," and stressed that rising case numbers were "a matter of concern".
"There was a meeting of senior officials this morning chaired by my Secretary General, and the presentation from Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn was a serious one," he said.
"The trajectory of the disease has taken a wrong turn.
"There has been a surge, what's been described as a sudden increase in the last week in terms of case numbers."
When asked if he could guarantee that Freedom Day would still be going ahead as planned, the Taoiseach replied: "I can't guarantee right now, but we have to wait for further presentations from NPHET, but no decisions were made or anything like that.
"There was a meeting this morning, these issues were raised, presentations were made to officials and I received a briefing on that later this afternoon in terms of growth of the pattern of the disease and affecting all age groups at this stage.
"So that is a matter of concern."