LEO VARADKAR says there is “no reason to believe” Ireland will be forced to go back into lockdown for a fourth time due to the Delta variant of Covid-19.
Despite cases continuing to rise across Ireland, the Tanaiste remains confident the country can look forward to an outdoor summer.
The Fine Gael leader told the Irish Independent:“There is no reason to believe that we will be forced to go into a fourth lockdown because of the variant.
“We can still have an outdoor summer holiday and look forward to schools and colleges going back safely in September when all adults are vaccinated.
“And we may be vaccinating teenagers at that point too.”
Varadkar’s positive assessment differents from that of the Taoiseach, Micheal Martin, who warned earlier this week that a fourth wave is “going to happen”.
Martin said: "We need to get it into our heads that the Delta variant is real and it is going to happen.
"If the forecasts don’t turn out as bad as people have said, well that’s good news all round but we have to take on board what has been forecasted and deal decisively with that.”
The Irish Government is in the process of negotiating several deals to buy spare vaccines from other EU member states.
One deal has already been reached, in principle, for the purchase of one million unwanted jabs in Romania.
It comes as part of a concerted effort to boost Ireland’s vaccination rollout in a bid to combat the rising case numbers brought on by the emerging Delta variant.