Athlone's Mayor Cllr Aengus O'Rourke.

Athlone Mayor says reopening plan is very welcome

Mayor of Athlone, Cllr Aengus O'Rourke, has said the government's relaxation of restrictions is very welcome after a long and trying winter for everybody.

But a "robust reopening assistance package" for businesses needs to be put in place immediately, he urged.

"Many aspects of the announcement took people by surprise, with a quicker return of some services than expected.

"It is truly wonderful that the public health situation now supports a cautious easing of restrictions. But of course, the easing of restrictions is only possible because of the steadfast attitude and resilience of the Irish people," he noted.

"The government have committed to a recovery plan and I look forward to seeing the details of that. But more immediately the government need to put in place a robust ‘reopening’ assistance package for businesses that have been closed now for months on end.

"The plan must provide viable businesses with supports to assist them on the road to reopening. We have come through a long period of closure and it will be some time before the country and economy gets back to pre-Covid economic activity and employment levels.

"A reopening economic plan for society and the economy must have an immediate, medium and long-term focus in order to minimise the closures and job losses that might otherwise occur," he ended.

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