Responding to the Government’s announcement today on the new strategy for Covid-19, Róisín Shortall, TD and co-leader for the Social Democrats, commented:

“The Government’s message today was confused and it’s confusing for the public. The new plan was supposed to provide clarity about the five different levels of risk, yet on the first day of the announcement this was muddied by having Dublin at ‘level two and a bit.’

“For the Dublin area, where the rates of Covid19 are growing rapidly, there was little clarity provided by the Government in respect of additional restrictions necessary and people are largely left to scramble for basic information. This is unforgiveable at a time when people are seriously worried and need strong political leadership in respect of the steps they should now take to reduce the risk in the Dublin area.

“There is some detail provided about restrictions at different risk levels, but this is all subject to change within those levels by NPHET.

“No criteria have been set down for categorising counties by risk level and for moving between risk levels. How can the public anticipate restrictions and modify their behaviour in the absence of any information?

“There is still no commitment from the Government about urgently improving the testing and tracing system, which was called into question last week when testing at meat plants was suspended. Despite rising case numbers, Government still hasn’t played its part by ramping this up immediately in terms of capacity and turnaround.

“With regard for foreign travel, the Government has parked any further announcement until mid-October subject to decisions by the European Commission.

“Lastly, this plan was created with no consultation with the opposition. In fact, there has only been one briefing with opposition party leaders since April.”

15th September 2020

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