Dublin business group DublinTown said that footfall in Dublin city centre increased by 22% on a weekly basis on Saturday January 22 - the first day all Covid restrictions were lifted.

DublinTown said the week-on-week increase is a positive sign for the struggling hospitality and retail businesses in Dublin who have been badly affected by the lack of footfall in the city over the past two years.

The footfall data is collected using cameras at key locations, with raw data analysed by international experts Springboard, who also monitor footfall in New York, London and Chicago.

DublinTown's chief executive Richard Guiney said that an increase of 22% week-on-week is enormous and it is really welcome news for businesses in the city.

"Saturday's figures are most likely driven by people visiting pubs, restaurants and clubs with the ending of restrictions. We will be closely monitoring footfall over the coming days and weeks to see if this translates into more people visiting Dublin midweek," Mr Guiney said.

"The phased return to offices begins today and it is essential for Dublin City that we start to see people coming back to work in the city," Richard Guiney said.

"While a lot of the focus in the past two years has rightly been on restrictions for hospitality businesses, retailers have been very badly affected by the loss of so many office workers. We’ll be keeping a close eye on the footfall figures this week and encouraging a safe return to workplaces," he added.

Dublin Town is Dublin city centre's Business Improvement District, which stetches from Parnell Street to St Stephen’s Green. Pre-pandemic it was home to 2,500 mostly consumer facing businesses.