THERE ARE growing fears that the planned reopening of society in Ireland could be delayed by a further three weeks.
It comes amid concerns over the spread of the Delta variant of Covid-19.
According to the Sunday Independent, Taoiseach Micheal Martin is worried Ireland could face up to 2,000 cases of the Covid-19 variant by the end of July if the reopening goes ahead.
The report claims Martin is at odds with his Tanaiste Leo Varadkar on whether or not to delay the exit from lockdown.
The Fianna Fail leader reportedly wants to push back reopening plans until July 26, in order to ensure anyone over 60 is fully vaccinated.
His Fine Gael counterpart, by contrast, believes any delay could result in another “lost summer” for the public and businesses across Ireland.
The continued uncertainty has left many businesses hanging in the balance with the date for reopening fast approaching.
While Martin is concerned any easy now could lead to a further tightening of restrictions in August, he is expected to consult with NPHET next week before making a decision.
A source told the Sunday Independent: "At the end, the Government will obviously be heavily influenced by what Nphet reports, but it’s back to last October again, we need Nphet to tell us when we can reopen if we have to postpone the reopening from July 5."
This development comes just a day after drinks industry chiefs warned that as many as six million pints of beer could be wasted if reopening plans are delayed.