LEO VARADKAR has been labelled 'Minister for Beet Gardens' due to comments he made about the easing of Ireland's Covid-19 restrictions in the coming months.
The Tánaiste said recently that we can expect to see a summer "similar" to last year, with "hotels and restaurants open".
He said that once vaccines had been widely distributed, he expected everyone to "be able to have beers outdoors with friends" once again.
Varadkar also revealed he'd booked himself a 'staycation' holiday to Sligo in September.
While his comments may have offered much-needed optimism to the Irish public, they haven't gone down well with everyone.
Labour TD Aodhán Ó Ríordáin hit out at Varadkar's suggestions in the Dáil on Wednesday, slamming him for encouraging talk of reopening society when Ireland had only just emerged from a month (January) where more people died due to Covid-19 than in the entirety of 2020.
My contribution to our @labour motion this morning. We need to adopt a National Aggressive Suppression Strategy to defeat the virus.
January saw over a 1000 deaths and more cases in one month than in the whole of 2020. pic.twitter.com/3LU5CqC9bx
— Aodhán Ó Ríordáin (@AodhanORiordain) February 10, 2021
He argued that the country should be trying to establish itself as a "European leader" in the suppression of the virus, rather than just lagging behind whatever the UK was doing.
"The Minister for Beer Gardens comes out and furthers his own personal agenda, again making things worse, talking about potentially reopening, of family gatherings, of industry potentially reopening, nowhere recognising the fact that we are in the teeth of a body count," Ó Ríordáin told the Dáil.
"There is genuinely no point in giving people hope about beer gardens and family gatherings and schools reopening if we're just going to go back and lock down again in May.
"There's no point because people are literally going around the twist. They're finding it extremely difficult to function and you can't give with one hand and then take away with the other."
The Labour TD went on to say that unless the Government came up with an effective strategy to properly suppress the virus, the country would simply 'yo-yo' in and out lockdowns.