The Taoiseach cannot guarantee that pubs will re-open this year after he announced they will remain closed for at least three more weeks.
The fresh delay to the full reopening of bars was announced earlier this evening after new COVID-19 infections more than doubled in a week.
Restaurants and pubs serving food will now have to close at 11 o’clock at night although Micheal Martin stressed “this is not a curfew”.
“I know that this will come as a blow to pub owners and I want them to know I have enormous sympathy for their plight,” he told a news conference.
“This virus is taking away their ability to earn a living, to provide a key service in the heart of many communities.
“But we are doing what we are doing to save lives and to give our society and economy the best chance we can to open safely and sustainably.”
Ireland’s acting chief medical officer Dr Ronan Glynn said that it is the “right decision” not to move to the next phase of lockdown easing.
“We have seen a concerning increase in the disease incidence in Ireland over the last seven days,” he added.
“We must ensure we are in the best position possible to manage any further rise in cases that might occur here in Ireland.